Israel’s Attacks on Gaza

Palestinians inspect the damaged school Dar al-Arkam following an Israeli air strike which targeted the school in Gaza City July 5, 2006. (MaanImages/Mohamed al-Zanon)

Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, the Foreign Assistance Act and the Geneva Conventions.

Israeli air force fighter squadrons are composed of Lockheed Martin F-16I Fighting Falcons and Boeing F-15Is, which fire U.S.-manufactured AMRAAM, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles. Between 2005-2005, the United States licensed to Israel at least $1.062 billion of spare parts, engines, and missiles for its F-15 and F-16 fighter planes. (*)

Israel’s month of killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, highlighted below, is a clear reminder that Israel remains the occupying power of the Gaza Strip despite last year’s “unilateral disengagement.” Living under military occupation, the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are “protected persons” under the terms of the Geneva Conventions. Israel’s attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip are a violation of the Geneva Conventions and constitute war crimes.

In addition, by using U.S.-supplied weapons to commit these atrocities, Israel is violating the terms of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act. The Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of U.S. weapons to legitimate self-defense and internal policing; U.S. weapons cannot be used to attack civilians in offensive operations. The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits U.S. aid of any kind to a country with a pattern of gross human rights violations.

  • On June 9th, Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32. At the site of the killing, Human Rights Watch found evidence of a 155mm artillery shell consistent with those fired from an Israeli M-109 Self-Propelled Artillery. Between 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel $69,163 worth of M-109 spare parts and 155mm artillery shells. (*)
  • On June 13th, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in an extrajudicial killing of two Palestinians in Gaza City. A second barrage of missiles fired shortly afterward killed nine Palestinian bystanders.
  • On June 20th, Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an extrajudicial killing attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed its intended target and killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.
  • On June 27th, Israel launched a massive invasion of the Gaza Strip. Israeli aircraft fired missiles targeting civilian infrastructure. In illegal acts of collective punishment, Israel demolished three key bridges, the Gaza Strip’s only electricity generation plant, the five-story Interior Ministry building in Gaza City and part of a university and a school, thereby endangering Palestinian human rights to food, water, health, electricity, education, and freedom of movement. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted that the purpose of these measures is to “apply pressure” to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
  • On June 29th, Israel arrested and detained 64 Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly said in a closed meeting, “They want prisoners released? We’ll release these detainees in exchange for Shalit.” The arrested Hamas government officials were democratically elected to govern the Palestinian territories in January, and their arrest and targetting can be considered a reprisal against civilians, which is forbidden under the Geneva Conventions.

    (*)Statistics for U.S. weapons licensed to Israel are compiled from the State Department’s annual report to Congress pursuant to Sec. 655 of the Foreign Assistance Act.

    The Council for the National Interest is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization founded seventeen years ago by former Congressmen Paul Findley (R-IL) and Pete McCloskey (R-CA) to advocate a new direction for U.S. Middle East policy. CNI seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values, protects our national interests, and contributes to a just solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as to restore a political environment in America in which voters and their elected officials are free from the undue influence and pressure of a foreign country, namely Israel.

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  • BY TOPIC: Israel invades Gaza (27 June 2006)