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Monday, February 23, 2009

Amnesty calls for arms embargo on Israel, Hamas

Mon, 23 Feb 2009 03:01:26 GMT | PressTV

Amnesty International
calls for an arms
embargo on Israel
Amnesty International calls for an arms embargo on Israel for committing heinous war crimes in Gaza while also asking for a weapons ban on Hamas.

It asked for the arms embargo on Hamas for firing rockets on Israeli towns.

In a Sunday report issued one month after Israel ended its 23-day onslaught on Gaza, the London-based rights organization, documented that US-made white phosphorous and other weapons supplied by the United States were widely used by Israeli forces 'to carry out serious violations of international law, including war crimes' on the people of Gaza.

Amnesty also called on the United States President Barack Obama to suspend all military aid to Israel.

Donatella Rovera, who headed an Amnesty fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, said: "Their (Israeli) attacks resulted in the death of hundreds of Gaza children and other civilians, and massive destruction of homes and infrastructure."

Amnesty said it had found fragments and components of artillery, tank shells, mortar fins and airborne missiles and bombs in school playgrounds, hospitals and homes in Gaza.

In southern Israel, meanwhile, it found remains of rockets fired at civilian areas by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups.

"We urge the United Nations Security Council to impose an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are found to ensure that munitions and other military equipment are not used to commit serious violations of international law," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East director.

"In addition all states should suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk of human rights violations."
Both Israel and Hamas dismissed the Amnesty report.

Mark Regev, spokesman for the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Israel only uses weapons that are legal under international law.

Gazans living in tents
as they have lost
their homes in
Israel's airstrikes
Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas' spokesman, called the report unfair. He said Israel's imported war machine was much more sophisticated in comparison to Palestinians, who merely defended themselves, used some rifles and other primitive means.

The three-week assault killed 1,330 Palestinians and wounded 5,450 others, a large number of them women and children. It also destroyed some 5,000 homes and ruined much of the strip's infrastructure. Thirteen Israelis were also killed by Palestinian fire.

"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," Smart said.

"The Obama administration should immediately suspend US military aid to Israel," he said.

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