Amnesty International Calls for Review of U.S. Arm Sales to Israel
Interview with Curt Goering, Amnesty International USA, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
In late December of last year, a ship loaded with weapons departed the U.S. bound for Israel, while George W. Bush was still president. A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed that it arrived in Israel on March 22, after Barack Obama took office. The spokesperson said that the shipment was destined for a U.S. pre-positioned ammunition stockpile in Israel. Under a U.S.-Israeli agreement, munitions from this stockpile may be transferred for Israel to use if necessary.
This weaponry is part of the $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel, most of it for military assistance. Amnesty International USA followed this shipment and contacted both the former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the incoming Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to express concern that Israel was using U.S.-supplied weapons against Palestinians in ways that violated a number of U.S. laws. The latest instance was Israel's three-week-long air and ground assault on Gaza that began on Dec. 27, which killed an estimated 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children and hundreds of other civilians.
An Obama State Department official told Amnesty International that Israel's use of U.S. weapons during the Gaza conflict is under review to determine if Israel complied with U.S. law, but no conclusion has yet been reached. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Curt Goering, senior deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, who talks about the U.S.-Israel military agreement and what steps concerned Americans could take to raise the issue with their elected officials.
Contact Amnesty International USA. at (212) 807-8400 or visit their website at www.amnestyusa.org
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