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UN experts say firms sending arms to Israel could be complicit in abuses

June 20, 2024 at 4:41 pm

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators demanding arms embargo on Israel, gather at a railway line at Pelham Avenue and Osler Street during a protest in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on April 16, 2024. [Mert Alper Dervış – Anadolu Agency]

A group of United Nations experts, on Thursday, warned arms and ammunition manufacturers against taking part in the transfer of weapons to Israel, saying it could make them complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law, Anadolu Agency reports.

The group of 30 experts, including several UN Special Rapporteurs, said arms manufacturers supplying Israel should halt their transfers of war materiel, “even if they are executed under existing export licenses”.

“These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws,” the experts said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which has repeatedly denied carrying out abuses during its Gaza operations, saying it is acting to defend itself and is fighting Hamas, not the Palestinian population.

UN: Israel is ‘exterminating’ Palestinians

The UN experts said, on Thursday, the risk to arms firms had increased since the International Court of Justice ordered Israel last month to halt its military offensive in Rafah in the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, in a landmark emergency ruling in South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide.

“In this context, continuing arms transfers to Israel may be seen as knowingly providing assistance for operations that contravene international human rights and international humanitarian laws and may result in profit from such assistance,” the experts said.

Israel has rejected the genocide accusations as false and grossly distorted.

The UN Human Rights Office said on Wednesday that Israeli forces may have repeatedly violated the laws of war and failed to distinguish between civilians and fighters in the Gaza conflict. Israel dismissed the findings as flawed.

Israel’s air and ground offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in the Palestinian Territory, according to health authorities there.

Israel launched its assault after Hamas fighters stormed across the border into southern Israel on 7 October, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 people hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

READ: Hamas welcomes UN inquiry results as ‘another’ confirmation of Israel’s crimes in Gaza