After investigating weapons debris remaining from Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, Amnesty International has found that both Israel and Hamas used foreign-supplied arms against civilians, and is calling for an international arms embargo against all parties involved in the conflict. In a report picked up by HuffPo this morning, AI did make a clear distinction between the destructive capability of Israel and Hamas, and singled out the United States as the biggest culprit in the supply of weapons used against civilian populations.
When the fighting was over, Amnesty researchers discovered:
Fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli Army–including many that are US-made–littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes. They included artillery and tank shells, mortar fins and remnants from Hellfire and other airborne missiles and large F-16 delivered bombs, as well as still smouldering highly incendiary white phosphorus remains.
They also found remnants of a new type of missile, seemingly launched from unmanned drones, which explodes large numbers of tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2mm and 4mm square in size. These lethal purpose-made shrapnel had penetrated thick metal doors and were embedded deep in concrete walls, and are clearly designed to maximize injury.
On the Hamas side, Amnesty searched debris in southern Israel and found:
Remains of "Qassam", Grad and other indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups against civilian areas. These unsophisticated weapons cannot be aimed accurately and stand no comparison with the weaponry deployed by Israel but they have caused several deaths of Israeli civilians, injuries to others and damage to civilian property.
Amnesty calls for "an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups", and singles out the United States for having a "particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights". Most importantly, they urge President Obama to immediately suspend all military aid to Israel.
Obama is unlikely to take the advice of Amnesty without a considerable amount of attention being directed to the U.S. role in the deaths and dismemberment of thousands of Palestinians. There are many organizations that oppose the Occupation and Israel’s use of white phosphorus, cluster munitions and bunker busters (made in the U.S.A.), but it is time for Americans to step up and put pressure on their President and Congressional representatives to stop using our tax dollars to facilitate the slaughter of Palestinians and the destruction of the infrastructure that supports their survival.
The very least we can do is inundate the White House and our reps’ offices with emails citing Amnesty’s findings and expressing our opposition to continued military aid to Israel. If we don’t do whatever we can, we are complicit in the war crimes committed in our names.