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120 human rights groups call to impose arms embargo on ‘Israel’

120 human rights groups and 124 leaders have called upon the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to immediately impose a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on ‘Israel’.

In a letter they sent to the ATT, the undersigned global coalition of leaders, from civil society to academia, art, media, business, politics, indigenous and faith communities, and people of conscience around the world, urged to “act decisively to put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment for the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights against Palestinian civilians by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.”

Among the signatories are: Adalah, Addameer, Al-Mezan Center, Al-Haq, American Muslims for Palestine, Anglican Pacifist, and Defense for Children -Palestine.

While pointing out to Israel’s 11-day deadly aggression on the Gaza Strip last May and its violence against defenceless Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories, the signatories said that this “systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”

Last May, 248 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children. Thousands were wounded, and the reverberating effects of the use of explosive weapons on hospitals, schools, food security, water, electricity and shelter continue to affect millions.

The latest Israeli 11-day aggression on the Gaza Strip started on May 10 and ended with a ceasefire brokered by mediator Egypt on May 21.

248 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children. Thousands were wounded, and the reverberating effects of the use of explosive weapons on hospitals, schools, food security, water, electricity and shelter continue to affect millions.

19 families in the Gaza Strip have been wiped off the population civil registry during Israel’s 11-day aggression, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, including 41 children and 25 women.

More than 90,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes, and much of Gaza’s infrastructure and many residential buildings were completely destroyed or levelled.

“Symbolic statements of condemnation alone will not put an end to this suffering,” the human rights groups and leaders wrote.

“In accordance with the relevant rules of the ATT, States Parties have legal obligations to put an end to irresponsible and often complicit trade of conventional arms that undermines international peace and security, facilitates commission of egregious crimes, and threatens the international legal order,” they added.

The signatories referred to the Articles 6(3), 7 and 11 of the ATT:

The States Parties undertook not to authorise any transfer of conventional arms if they have knowledge at the time of authorisation that arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which they are a Party.

The States Parties undertook not to authorise any export of conventional arms, munitions, parts and components that would, inter alia, undermine peace and security or be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Stating “it is clear that arms exports to Israel are inconsistent with these obligations,” the leaders and human rights groups said, “Invariably, Israel has shown that it uses arms to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, as documented by countless United Nations bodies and civil society organisations worldwide.”

“Military exports to Israel also clearly enabled, facilitated and maintained Israel’s decades-long settler-colonial and apartheid regime imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The signatories said they believe that the “ATT can make a difference in the Palestinian civilians’ lives. It has the potential, if implemented in good faith, to spare countless protected persons from suffering. If our call to stop leaving the Palestinian people behind when it comes to implementation of the ATT is ignored, the raison d’être of the ATT will be shattered.”

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