[JURIST] Human rights group Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday called for the UN to place an arms embargo on Israel and Hamas, responding to the UN's report [text, PDF] that both parties used foreign-supplied weapons during the recent fighting in Gaza. The UN found that weapons from more than 20 countries were used during the Gaza conflict [JURIST news archive], resulting in the deaths of hundreds of children and other civilians. The US is the largest supplier of weapons to Israel, and a current 10-year agreement between the countries specifies that the US will supply Israel with $30 billion in military aid [Haaretz report]. AI asserts that the US supplied Israel with white phosphorus [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] and other weapons used to allegedly commit war crimes [JURIST report] and other violations of international humanitarian law. The report called for a series of actions to cease the supply of arms:
Impose immediately a comprehensive UN Security Council arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons or munitions and other military equipment will not be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This must include ensuring that alleged violations are thoroughly and impartially investigated and accountability, with any persons who are found responsible being brought to justice in fair trials. [sic]
International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] is attempting to gain jurisdiction over Israel to investigate its actions in Gaza for alleged war crimes. Under the ICC's Rome Statute [text], jurisdiction in a matter can only be transferred to the court when it involves a recognized, signatory state, or by special approval of the UN Security Council. Israel does not recognize the court, and in the past Moreno-Ocampo has said that the ICC lacked jurisdiction over the alleged crimes [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, he indicated that the court was nonetheless making a "preliminary analysis" [JURIST report] of the situation. Israel has already begun to consider defenses against possible war crimes charges, partly based on accusations [JURIST reports] that it used white phosphorus in a civilian area.