Global call for arms embargo on Israel gains limited US support

More than 200 lawmakers from 13 countries recently unified in an unprecedented statement, voicing their staunch opposition to their nations' arms exports to Israel.

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Over 200 lawmakers from 13 countries recently unified in an unprecedented statement, voicing their staunch opposition to their nations’ arms exports to Israel amidst escalating conflicts in Gaza. This bold declaration, facilitated by Progressive International, emphasizes the legislators’ dedication to curbing the flow of arms that have been instrumental in the ongoing violence against Palestinians. Among the signatories, only two U.S. Representatives, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), have joined this international chorus, signaling a significant but isolated stance within American politics.

The statement starkly outlines the signatories’ commitment: “We, the undersigned parliamentarians, declare our commitment to end our nations’ arms sales to the state of Israel.” This sentiment reflects a growing global discontent with the use of domestically produced weapons in the conflict that has led to significant Palestinian casualties in Gaza and the West Bank.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, the lawmakers argue for an arms embargo on Israel based on both moral and legal grounds. They refer to the International Court of Justice’s interim ruling, which they interpret as a directive against the use of lethal force and dispossession against Palestinians, a directive they accuse Israel of blatantly ignoring.

Among the voices calling for action, Niki Ashton, a Canadian Parliament member and one of the statement’s endorsers, criticized her government for approving substantial weapons exports to Israel. “That is horrifying,” Ashton remarked, emphasizing the direct impact of these weapons on Palestinian lives and calling for an immediate cessation of arms exports to Israel.

This collective call for an arms embargo gains further relevance in the wake of the “flour massacre,” a recent tragic event where Israeli forces were reported to have fired upon Gazans attempting to access humanitarian aid, resulting in numerous casualties. This incident has not only fueled the international outcry but also raised serious questions about the ethical implications of arms exports to conflict zones.

In response to these developments, U.S. President Joe Biden announced intentions to facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza, yet without specifying any concrete repercussions should Israel continue to hinder these efforts. Amnesty International’s Agnes Callamard criticized the response as insufficient, highlighting the disconnect between arming a nation and addressing the humanitarian crises its actions may perpetuate.

The calls for an arms embargo resonate beyond mere policy recommendations, embodying a broader plea for adherence to international humanitarian law and a reevaluation of global arms trade practices. As the world witnesses the dire consequences of the Israel-Gaza conflict, the stand taken by these lawmakers serves as a critical juncture, urging a re-commitment to peace, justice, and the protection of human rights across international borders.

Agnes Callamard remarked, “There is a serious risk of genocide and in response the U.S. is proposing to airdrop supplies, while continuing to arm the perpetrator.”

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