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Just 2 US Lawmakers Sign International Statement Demanding Israel Arms Embargo

Reps. Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib were among 200 lawmakers who issued the demand in the wake of the latest IDF massacre.

U.S. Rep. Cori Bush speaks at a news conference calling for a ceasefire in Gaza outside the U.S. Capitol building on November 13, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

More than 200 lawmakers from 13 countries issued a joint statement Friday expressing opposition to their nations’ weapons exports to Israel and pledging to do everything in their power to halt the flow of arms that are being used to massacre Palestinians in Gaza.

“We, the undersigned parliamentarians, declare our commitment to end our nations’ arms sales to the state of Israel,” reads the statement, which was coordinated by Progressive International. “Our bombs and bullets must not be used to kill, maim, and dispossess Palestinians. But they are: We know that lethal weapons and their parts, made or shipped through our countries, currently aid the Israeli assault on Palestine that has claimed over 30,000 lives across Gaza and the West Bank.”

The statement’s signatories include legislators from Israel’s top allies and weapons suppliers, including the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada. Just two U.S. lawmakers — Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — backed the statement.

The statement includes six signatories from Germany, which is facing an International Court of Justice (ICJ) case alleging complicity in genocide against Palestinians.

The lawmakers argued that an arms embargo on Israel is both “a moral necessity” and “a legal requirement,” given the ICJ’s interim ruling in late January.

“We will not be complicit in Israel’s grave violation of international law,” the statement reads. “The ICJ ordered Israel not to kill, harm or ‘deliberately [inflict] on the [Palestinians] conditions of life calculated to bring about… physical destruction.’ They have refused. Instead, they press on with a planned assault on Rafah that the secretary-general of the United Nations has warned will ‘exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare.'”

“Today, we take a stand,” the statement continues. “We will take immediate and coordinated action in our respective legislatures to stop our countries from arming Israel.”

Niki Ashton, a member of Canada’s Parliament and a statement signatory, noted on social media that the Canadian government has approved $28 million worth of weapons exports to Israel since its latest assault on Gaza began in October.

“That is horrifying,” Ashton wrote. “Which is why I along with Jeremy Corbyn and 200+ parliamentarians across the world are backing [Progressive International’s] call for a ban on arms exports to Israel.”

“Make no mistake. These weapons are directly used to kill and maim starving Palestinians,” she added. “As Canadians, we can no longer claim to respect international law while sending arms to a country involved in genocidal acts. Enough is enough.”

The statement was released amid global outrage over what’s been dubbed the “flour massacre.” On early Thursday morning, Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd of Gazans that surrounded an aid convoy in the northern part of the territory, which has been largely cut off from humanitarian assistance.

Israel’s military claimed dozens were killed and injured in a stampede, but witness accounts and video footage show that Israeli forces fired on Gazans as they desperately tried to get their hands on sacks of flour. One Gaza doctor said that 80% of the patients treated at his hospital in the wake of the attack had gunshot wounds, an account corroborated by United Nations teams and rights groups on the ground.

“Witness testimonies obtained by our field researchers and videos shared on social media documenting the events, clearly and unequivocally demonstrate that the crowd was hit by bullets coming from Israeli tanks and snipers,” Palestinian human rights organizations said in a statement Thursday.

A day after the deadly attack, U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans to airdrop humanitarian aid into Gaza as ground deliveries plummet.

The U.S. president said he would “insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes” for ground shipments, but he didn’t promise to impose consequences if the Israeli government continues obstructing humanitarian assistance.

“Unbelievable,” Agnes Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International, wrote following Biden’s announcement. “There is a serious risk of genocide and in response the U.S. is proposing to airdrop supplies, while continuing to arm the perpetrator.”

Late last month, dozens of U.N. experts called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel, warning that “any transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately.”

“State officials involved in arms exports may be individually criminally liable for aiding and abetting any war crimes, crimes against humanity, or acts of genocide,” the experts said.

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