Monday, February 23, 2009

Amnesty International declares:

Israel committed Gaza war crimes, using U.S. weapons.

"Amnesty: Israel committed Gaza war crimes by US weapons:

"Amnesty International called on Monday for a global arms embargo against Israel over Gaza war crimes."

Monday, 23 February 2009

In "World Bulletin", at:

Amnesty International called on Monday for a global arms embargo against Israel, accusing it of using white phosphorous and other weapons supplied by the United States to commit war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

In a report issued one month after Israel ended its 22-day offensive, the rights organization documented that U.S.-made weapons were used widely by Israeli forces in the enclave. Amnesty said U.S. President Barack Obama had a "particular obligation" to suspend military aid over their use.

In addition to seeking a crack down on Israel, the report called on the U.N. Security Council to impose a full arms embargo against Hamas. Amnesty said rocket attacks by Gaza militants against Israeli towns constituted a war crime.

Israel dismissed the Amnesty report.

Mark Regev, spokesman for outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said it was "fundamentally flawed", suggesting Israel only uses weapons that are "legal under international law."

Israel killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children in the 22-day military aggression in Decemcer 2008 on Gaza and wounded 5,300 Palestinians, and Gaza infrastructure suffered massive damage totaling at least 476 million dollars, according to Palestinian medics and officials.

Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers, were killed.

"Israeli forces used white phosphorous and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes," said Donatella Rovera, who headed Amnesty International's fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip and southern Israel.

Amnesty investigators in the Gaza Strip said they found fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli army, many made in the United States, in school playgrounds, hospitals and homes.

In addition to artillery and the remains of highly incendiary white phosphorus munitions, Amnesty said it found the remnants of a new type of missile which sprays tiny, sharp-edged metal cubes.

Amnesty said the cubes penetrated thick metal doors and were embedded deep in concrete walls, and were clearly designed to maximize injury.

Israel is a major buyer of U.S.-made military equipment.

"To a large extent, Israel's military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with U.S. taxpayers' money," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East director.

"As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights," he said. "The Obama administration should immediately suspend U.S. military aid to Israel."

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the report "unfair," saying there was no comparison between the Israeli war machine and Palestinian people who defend themselves with some rifles and other primitive means.