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Nations Must Halt Arms Transfer To Israel 'That Would Be Used In Gaza,' Say UN Experts

23.02.2024 14:27

US, German shipments increased since Oct. 7, experts note in statement by UN human rights body.

UN experts on Friday called for an immediate halt to arms exports to Israel that would be used in Gaza.

"Any transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately," said a statement by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

It urged all states to "ensure respect" for international humanitarian law by parties to the conflict, adding that they "must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition — or parts for them — if it is expected, given the facts or past patterns of behaviour, that they would be used to violate international law."

The OHCHR noted that those exports are banned "even if the exporting State does not intend the arms to be used in violation of the law."

It hailed "the suspension of arms transfers to Israel by Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the Japanese company Itochu Corporation."

However, the experts also stressed that shipments from the US and Germany had increased since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7, and that France, the UK, Canada, and Australia were among other arms exporters to Israel.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas. The ensuing Israeli war has killed more than 29,410 people and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Nearly 70,000 people have been injured.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack while over 200 were taken back to Gaza as hostages.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Hostilities have continued unabated, however, and aid deliveries remain woefully insufficient to address the humanitarian catastrophe. -

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