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Arms transfer to Israel must stop immediately: UN experts

An injured girl and man mourn over the bodies of relatives killed in overnight Israeli bombardment, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 23, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

UN experts have called for an immediate halt to weapons transfer to Israel, warning that state officials involved in arms exports to the regime "may be individually criminally liable for aiding and abetting any war crimes" in the Gaza Strip.

The experts said on Friday that any delivery of weapons or ammunition to the regime that would be used in the genocidal war on Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately, according to a statement by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The UN experts reiterated that weapons transfers to Israel “are prohibited even if the exporting State does not intend the arms to be used in violation of the law – or does not know with certainty that they would be used in such a way – as long as there is a clear risk.”

They said that “the need for an arms embargo on Israel is heightened,” since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in late January that “there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and the continuing serious harm to civilians since then.”

“This necessitates halting arms exports in the present circumstances.”

The experts warned the US and Germany, in particular, since the two countries have increased arms shipments to Israel, since October, when the regime started its war on the Gaza Strip. Other military exporters include France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

The UN experts welcomed the suspension of arms transfers to Israel by Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the Japanese company Itochu Corporation.

Washington, the regime’s main supporter, is still preparing to send more bombs and other weapons to Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported last Friday.

The arms are estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, the journal cited current and former US officials. They said that the proposal which is still undergoing internal administration review, needs to be sent to Congress for approval.

However, US President Joe Biden’s administration has so far twice bypassed Congress to urgently send bombs and other munitions to Israel to support the regime's war machine that has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women.

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