Amnesty International has called for an arms embargo of Israel. In a 74-page report, the human rights group wants the U.S., the European Union, and other countries to impose the embargo against Israel and it would continue until the Israelis stop violating international human rights law against the Palestinians.
The report states that without international pressure, Israeli human rights violations will likely continue. Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North African Program at Amnesty International believes too much Palestinian blood has been spilled. The long-standing pattern of Israeli violence must be broken.
The report, entitled “Trigger-Happy: Israel’s Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank,” states the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has killed at least 22 Palestinians between January 2011 and December 2013. None of the dead Palestinians posed a threat to the IDF. Killing them amounted to nothing short of war crimes.
Luther condemns IDF soldiers of routinely firing live ammunition. Besides the 22 Palestinians killed, 261 were injured, 67 of the wounded were children. Rubber bullets coated with metal and teargas injured a further 8,000 civilians. The impunity for which IDF soldiers strike suggest they have orders from superiors to carry out these aggressive acts against unarmed civilians.
The report calls for the Israelis “to open independent, impartial, transparent, prompt investigations” of IDF treatment of Palestinians. Israelis must stop using live ammunition and metal-coated rubber bullets, except in cases where it protects lives. There must be a suspension of teargas due to the harmful chemicals causing ailments such as breathing difficulties, vomiting, and skin blisters. Furthermore, victims of human rights violations are entitled to justice, truth, and reparations. Amnesty International has called for an arms embargo of Israel until the human rights violations committed against Palestinians stops.
Israeli Foreign Minister Spokesman Yigal Palmor considers the report biased and depriving. He defends Israel’s right to protect itself. He says representatives of Amnesty International failed to ask for an Israeli response or comments to the claims made in the report. Last year, there were 5,000 Palestinian rock attacks against Israelis, half of which occurred on main roads. Palestinian terror attacks – such as shootings, improvised explosive devices, blunt weapon attacks, along with the abduction and murder of an Israeli soldier – were omitted.
Palmor states the Amnesty paper was one-sided. Whenever possible, IDF soldiers use sirens, water cannons, sound grenades, and teargas when protesters refuse to disperse. Once a situation requires escalation, only then do further lethal means get implemented and the use of ammunition authorized.
The Amnesty International report does refer to rock throwers as not being a serious risk to the IDF due to the distance of the throwers and the protective gear worn by the Israelis. Once the Palestinians begin throwing rocks, the IDF responds with tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets. The situation generally escalates into greater violence by the IDF.
Amnesty International’s report will attempt to invoke sympathy for the Palestinians by citing instance after instance of a Palestinian youth kill or maimed by the IDF. A report citing Israeli cruelty in the West Bank is meant to help justify Amnesty International’s call for an arms embargo of Israel.
By Brian T. Yates
Times of Israel