UN experts call for immediate arms embargo on Israel

OHCHR demands total arms embargo against Israel 'in all circumstances,' to pressure stop of Gaza war

The United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a statement on behalf of its experts which called for “arms exports to Israel” to be stopped immediately, as well as warning against sharing military intelligence. According to the statement, UN experts warned that “any” transfer of weapons to Israel that could be used in Gaza “is likely to violate international humanitarian law.”
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In the statement, a Dutch appeals court decision was praised for ordering the Netherlands to stop its export of F-315 fighter jet parts to Israel, while pointing to the civilian casualties, destruction of residential and civil infrastructure, and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza.
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פלסטינים עוזרים את צפון הרצועה דרומה
פלסטינים עוזרים את צפון הרצועה דרומה
Gazans evacuating in humanitarian corridor organized by IDF
(Photo: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
The allegations included claims of “dumb bombs” being used, as well as “deliberate, disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks,” and “failures to warn civilians of attacks.” Last week, an expert on urban warfare weighed in on the IDF's use of warnings to civilians, calling a new standard that other militaries would struggle to follow.
“Israel issued maps to the civilians [in Gaza] telling them where they would be operating each day,” Professor John Spencer, chair of the Urban Warfare Studies Modern War Institute at West Point, told Fox News.
Nevertheless, the UN experts noted state parties had treaty obligations to “deny arms exports” if there was an “overriding risk” that the arms could be used to violate international humanitarian laws, particularly if the states “know” the arms would be used to “commit international crimes.”
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דרום אפריקה נגד ישראל בדיון בהאג
דרום אפריקה נגד ישראל בדיון בהאג
ICJ did not order Israel to halt hostilities and did not call Gaza war genocide
(Photo: AP / Patrick Post, UN, EPA/REMKO DE WAAL)
The UN experts went on to cite a preliminary measures decision by the International Court of Justice, which said there was a “plausible risk of genocide in Gaza,” but a final judgment had not be rendered. Still, the experts said “This necessitates halting arms exports in the present circumstances.”
Suspension of arms transfer by Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and a Japanese company were welcomed, as well as a discouragement by the European Union, while the UN experts pointed out that the United States and Germany were the largest exporters.
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טנק ישראלי יורה מאיזור הגבול של רצועת עזה
טנק ישראלי יורה מאיזור הגבול של רצועת עזה
Israeli tank firing towards Gaza
The UN experts also noted that arms transfers to Hamas and “other armed groups” were prohibited by international law, “given their grave violations of international humanitarian law on 7 October 2023, including hostage-taking and subsequent indiscriminate rocket fire,” but did not indicate who had exported weapons to the terrorist factions in Gaza.
The OHCHR call applied “in all circumstances,” even for countering terrorism. Furthermore, the UN experts also warned that military intelligence must not be shared “where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law.”
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