Israel: Amnesty International demands arms embargo

Issue 
Israeli soldiers deploy with US-made weapons during the 2014 Gaza war .

“Israel is carrying out a murderous assault against protesting Palestinians, with its armed forces killing and maiming demonstrators who pose no imminent threat to them,” Amnesty International said on April 27 as thousands of Palestinians taking part in Great March of Return rallies in Gaza faced Israeli bullets for the fifth week in a row.

Over those weeks, Amnesty said, “the Israeli military has killed 35 Palestinians and injured more than 5500 others — some with what appear to be deliberately inflicted life-changing injuries”.

“In most of the fatal cases analysed by Amnesty International victims were shot in the upper body, including the head and the chest, some from behind,” the group said. “Eyewitness testimonies, video and photographic evidence suggest that many were deliberately killed or injured while posing no immediate threat to the Israeli soldiers.”

Amnesty is renewing its calls for “governments worldwide to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel”.

“The time for symbolic statements of condemnation is now over. The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel,” the group stated. “A failure to do so will continue to fuel serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel’s cruel blockade.”

Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor warned Israeli leaders that they could face trial for violence against civilians in Gaza.

“Unless Israel ensures effective and independent investigations resulting in criminal prosecutions of those responsible, the International Criminal Court must open a formal investigation into these killings and serious injuries as possible war crimes and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” Amnesty added.

In an example of the government propaganda used to justify the deliberate killing of civilians including children, Israeli government spokesperson Ofir Gendelman tweeted a video he claimed showed “a little Palestinian girl that recites what Hamas terrorists told her before they sent her today as a human shield to tear down the Gaza border with Israel.”

Subtitles in the video clip claim the young woman says, “We are not afraid of them, we want to kill them.”

However speakers of Palestinian Arabic were able to hear clearly that the girl said no such thing, despite how the audio sounds as if it has been doctored.

In fact, the girl says, “We are not afraid of them, We want to enter [cross the boundary] to them.”

One of the main demands of the Great March of Return is that Palestinians be allowed to exercise their internationally recognised right to return to lands from which they and their families were expelled and from which Israel excludes them solely because they are not Jews.

[Abridged from Electronic Intifada.]