Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast
by Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS - Israel is in violation of U.S. arms control laws for deploying U.S.-made fighter planes, combat helicopters and missiles to kill civilians and destroy Lebanon's infrastructure in the ongoing six-day devastation of that militarily-weak country.
The death toll, according to published reports, is over 200 people -- mostly civilians -- while the economic losses have been estimated at about 100 million dollars per day.
"Section 4 of the (U.S.) Arms Export Control Act requires that military items transferred to foreign governments by the United States be used solely for internal security and legitimate self-defense," says Stephen Zunes, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.
"Since Israeli attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and population centers clearly go beyond legitimate self-defense, the United States is legally obliged to suspend arms transfers to Israel," Zunes told IPS.
Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute in New York, is equally outraged at the misuse by Israel of U.S.-supplied weapons.
"As Israel jets bombard locations in Gaza, Haifa and Beirut, killing civilians (including as many as seven Canadians vacationing in Aitaroun), it is worth remembering that U.S. law is clear about how U.S.-origin weapons and military systems ought to be used," Berrigan told IPS.
She pointed out that the U.S. Arms Export Control Act clear states that U.S. origin weapons should not be used for "non-defensive purposes."
"In light of this clear statement, the United States has an opportunity to stave off further bloodshed and suffering by demanding that its weaponry and military aid not be used in attacks against Lebanon and elsewhere, and challenging Israeli assertions that it is using military force defensively," she added.