Amnesty International calls for Biden to 'immediately suspend' weapons transfers to Israel

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Human rights group Amnesty International called this week for President Biden to immediately suspend the transfer of weapons to Israel, as the organization renewed allegations that the Israeli military is violating international law.

Amnesty said in a Monday post that new research provided to the Biden administration has detailed American-supplied weapons to Israel being “used in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and in a manner that is inconsistent with U.S. law and policy.”

Amanda Klasing, national director for government relations with Amnesty International USA, said it was “shocking that the Biden administration continues to hold that the government of Israel is not violating international humanitarian law with U.S.-provided weapons when our research shows otherwise and international law experts disagree.”

“President Biden must end U.S. complicity with the government of Israel’s grave violations of international law and immediately suspend the transfer of weapons to the government of Israel,” Klasing said in a statement.

The organization’s calls come as the White House faces a May 8 deadline to certify to Congress that U.S.-provided weapons to Israel are being used in compliance with international law, with some reports suggesting there is friction in the State Department on the issue.

Last week, Amnesty International — along with more than 20 human rights, refugee and religious advocacy groups — called for the U.S. to block weapons transfers to Israel, saying it “further risks U.S. complicity in grave international crimes committed by Israel.”

Amnesty said it found that on several occasions, Israel has used American-made weapons in ways that violated international law, including using Joint Direct Attack Munitions bombs in October in an attack that killed 43 civilians, mostly children and women, in Gaza.

The group has also documented the use of white phosphorus in southern Lebanon, a flammable chemical that must be used with caution in warfare, and four Israeli strikes in Gaza throughout December and January that resulted in the deaths of 95 civilians, around half of whom were children.

Amnesty also said verifiable photos show Israel conducted an unlawful strike in October that killed seven journalists in southern Lebanon, despite the reporters clearly being identified.

The human rights group said in the report to the Biden administration that Israel is also not taking necessary precautions to protect civilian lives, citing rushed evacuation notices and indiscriminate strikes, and that the Israeli military is conducting inhumane treatment of prisoners and restricting humanitarian aid into Gaza.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza, as Israel carries out a war against militant group Hamas in retaliation for an Oc. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people. In the attack, Hamas also kidnapped around 250 hostages from southern Israel, with 130 still left in Gaza either dead or alive.

Israel has carried on with its war in Gaza despite international pressure calling for more restraint — including from Biden, who supports the U.S. ally but wants to minimize deaths and alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis in the coastal strip.

Biden has grown frustrated with the toll in Gaza, but continues to send weapons to Israel, including signing into law a $26 billion package last week, which authorizes more military assistance to the country.

The crisis in Gaza grew more complicated after the International Criminal Court (ICC) began reportedly considering filing arrest warrants for top officials in Israel and among leaders in Hamas related to the ongoing war.

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