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UN experts call for arms embargo against Israel

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Independent UN experts are calling for an arms embargo against Israel, stating that exporting countries risk violating international humanitarian law if the weapons supplied are used in the Gaza war, they said in Geneva on Friday.

All states must ensure compliance with international humanitarian law as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions, which are binding worldwide.

Therefore, no weapons or ammunition may be passed on it can be assumed, based on the previous behaviour of the recipient country, that the weapons will be used in an operation contrary to international law.

The UN Human Rights Office repeatedly accuse Israel of violating international humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip, through the widespread attacks that amount to collective punishment of the population.

Israel launched the attacks in response to the unprecedented terrorist attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7.

Around 1,200 people were killed and 250 abducted. Israel has stated it plans to destroy the Palestinian militant organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

More than 29,195 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli military campaign there so far.

In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) called on Israel to prevent acts in the Gaza Strip that could fall within the scope of the Genocide Convention.

As the judges considered the risk of genocide plausible, all arms deliveries must be stopped under the current circumstances, more than a dozen UN experts demanded.

The UN experts are appointed by the Human Rights Council for specific countries or topics and report on whether human rights are being violated. They work voluntarily and are not UN employees.

Last year, the German government authorized the export of weapons worth €20.1 million ($21 million) to Israel, as revealed in a question in the Bundestag in January.

This included 3,000 portable anti-tank weapons and 500,000 rounds of ammunition for machine guns, sub machine guns or other fully or semi-automatic firearms.

Some countries, such as the Netherlands, have banned arms exports to Israel.

The UN Human Rights Office is also calling for a review of human rights violations in the Palestinian Territories and Israel.

“The entrenched impunity reported by our Office for decades cannot be permitted to continue. There must be accountability on all sides for violations seen over 56 years of occupation and the 16 years of blockade of Gaza, and up to today,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said in a statement in Geneva.

“Justice is a pre-requisite for ending cycles of violence and for Palestinians and Israelis to be able to take meaningful steps towards peace.”

The official request for an investigation relates to the period of 12 months until October 31, 2023, in line with the mandate given to the Office by the UN Human Rights Council in a resolution from April 2023.

However, Türk would like to investigate much further back. All sides must be held accountable for their actions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories after the Six-Day War in 1967 until today, Türk said.

The list of abuses includes killings, hostage-taking, destruction of civilian facilities, collective punishment and many more acts that are prohibited under international humanitarian law.

The terrorist killings inside Israel on October 7 of last year are included in the official probe, as well as Israel’s initial military response.

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