‘Biden must follow US law and immediately suspend arms transfers to Israel!’

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Protesters in Oakland demanding the suspension of arms transfers to Israel

THE Biden administration should follow US law and immediately suspend arms transfers to Israel, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam said yesterday.

The organisations on March 19, 2024 submitted a joint memorandum to the US government regarding Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law including the use of US weapons and the blocking of US-funded humanitarian assistance.

‘There are good reasons why US law prohibits arms support for governments that block life-saving aid or violate international law with US weapons,’ said Sarah Yager, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

‘Given ongoing hostilities in Gaza, the Israeli government’s assurances to the Biden administration that it is meeting US legal requirements are not credible.’

Oxfam and Human Rights Watch said in their memorandum that they ‘are confident that the examples we cite here reflect a broader pattern of conduct than is currently being assessed by the US Government.

‘Oxfam has repeatedly sounded the alarm that Israel’s ongoing bombardment and siege, and its actions to prevent access for humanitarian aid, have escalated a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza,’ said Scott Paul, associate director for peace and security at Oxfam America.

‘We have laid out clearly for the Biden administration why any assurances from Israel that they have not delayed, restricted, and impeded aid into Gaza cannot be relied upon.

‘Despite this, the United States has continued to provide Israel with deadly weapons. The time has long passed for the Biden administration to end lethal arms sales to Israel, and we call on them to do so now and work to end the death and suffering in Gaza.’

The joint submission is being released as famine is imminent in northern Gaza and a high risk for the rest of the strip if Israel persists in its hostilities and restriction of humanitarian access.

The United States and other countries have resorted to airdrops and a temporary seaport – a product of Israel blocking aid from entering via more effective and safe land routes, the groups said.

Oxfam and Human Rights Watch urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to consider expected future violations when determining the credibility of the Israeli government’s assurances.

‘Oxfam and Human Rights Watch believe a suspension of arms transfers to Israel is necessary so long as there is an overriding risk that they are being used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and US law and policy,’ the groups said in their report.