A startling investigation by Amnesty International has exposed the use of US-made munitions in two devastating Israeli air strikes in Gaza, sparking international calls for a war crimes investigation. This new revelation puts a spotlight on the consequences of US arms sales and their deployment in conflict zones.
The investigation centered around two specific air strikes on civilian homes in Gaza. The first, on October 10, targeted the al-Najjar family home in Deir al-Balah, claiming 24 lives. The second, on October 22, hit the Abu Mu’eileq family home, resulting in 19 deaths.
In the ruins of these homes, distinctive fragments of US-manufactured Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) were discovered. According to Amnesty International, these air strikes, devoid of prior warnings to civilians, were either direct attacks on civilians or indiscriminate, violating international humanitarian laws.
Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, highlighted the troubling use of US weapons in these fatal strikes. “The US-made weapons facilitated the mass killings of extended families,” she stated, urging the Biden administration to reconsider its arms transfer policies to Israel.
Amnesty International’s findings have led to calls for these air strikes to be investigated as potential war crimes. The absence of military objectives at the strike sites raises severe legal and ethical questions about the nature of these attacks.
Utilizing satellite imagery and weapons expertise, Amnesty International concluded that the bombs used in the al-Najjar and Abu Mu’eileq family strikes were large, US-made munitions. The identification of these munitions as JDAMs was based on distinctive features found on the recovered fragments.
Survivors’ accounts add a harrowing dimension to the report. Suleiman Salman al-Najjar’s testimony about the loss of his family in the al-Najjar strike paints a picture of sudden devastation and personal tragedy, echoing the experiences of many others affected by these strikes.
In response to these findings, Amnesty International is calling for a comprehensive arms embargo by the UN Security Council on all parties in the Gaza and Israel conflict. The organization also urges the International Criminal Court to fast-track its investigation into war crimes in the region.
The report challenges the United States to align with its own laws and policies on arms transfers, particularly in contexts where there is a high risk of civilian harm. Amnesty International underscores that continued US arms supplies for such attacks could implicate the nation in these alleged war crimes.
This investigation by Amnesty International brings into sharp focus the dire consequences of US arms being used in conflict zones like Gaza. It calls for immediate global action to prevent further civilian casualties and uphold international humanitarian law, emphasizing the responsibility of arms-supplying nations in conflict situations.