A recent statement by the International Action Network on Small Arms, the world’s leading gun prohibition lobby, states that the Arms Trade Treaty, currently being drafted in the United Nations, would prohibit arms sales to Israel and to Hamas. Rebecca Peters, the head of IANSA, accuses both Hamas and Israel of violating international law, and explained that the ATT would outlaw weapons sales to both parties. According to the press release:
[Peters said:] “Yet some states continue to supply weapons to the protagonists. Some of these transfers are ‘legal’, meaning approved by the exporting and importing governments. The most obvious case here is the continuing US supply of arms to Israel.”
Last week IANSA reported that the US tried to ship 989 containers of ammunition, explosives and other munitions to Israel, through European ports.
A strong and effective global Arms Trade Treaty would have prevented these transfers, and more importantly would have prevented transfers in the past few years, reducing the protagonists’ capacity to wage their deadly war.
Under the rules of war, attacks should not be indiscriminate, and precautions must be taken to minimise civilian casualties. Around 1300 Palestinians were killed in the recent attacks by Israel on Gaza. Most of these victims were non-combatants, including nearly 500 children. Israel claimed these attacks were militarily necessary, because the military targets were located within civilian settlements. But the massive number of casualties resulted in part because Israel failed to give sufficient warning to civilians.