On December 5, 2023, a new investigation published by Amnesty International found that US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) were used by the Israeli military in two deadly, unlawful air strikes on the al-Najjar and Abu Mu’eileq family homes in Deir al-Balah in the occupied Gaza Strip. Amnesty did not find any indication that there were any military objectives at the sites of the two strikes or that people in the buildings were legitimate military targets. The air strikes – which killed a total of 43 people (19 children, 14 women and 10 men) – were either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks and must be investigated as war crimes.
Amnesty International has documented damning evidence of war crimes by Israeli forces in their intense bombardment of Gaza, including direct or indiscriminate attacks as well as other unlawful attacks and collective punishment of the civilian population. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, the attacks have killed more than 22,000 people, over a third of which are children. 0ver 57,000 are reported injured. Over 1.9 million out of the Gaza’s 2.2 million people have been displaced – often repeatedly.
In the face of the unprecedented civilian death toll and scale of destruction in Gaza, the US and other governments must immediately stop transferring arms to Israel that more likely than not will be used to commit or heighten risks of violations of international law. To knowingly assist in violations is contrary to the obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law. A state that continues to supply arms being used to commit violations may share responsibility for these violations.
Take action: Write to US President Biden
Because of its close relationship with the Israeli government—which includes sending billions of dollars in military funding and weapons annually—the United States plays a key role and has a responsibility to ensure civilians are protected and a humanitarian collapse is prevented.
Use the White House contact form to send a message to President Biden calling on the US to immediately suspend the sale or transfer of weapons to Israel. Further call for the US to support an immediate and sustained ceasefire by all parties in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Please also print and send a copy of your message to the US ambassador to Canada (note: No email address is available for the US ambassador to Canada).
David L Cohen, Ambassador
Embassy of the United States of America
PO Box 866, Station B
Ottawa ON K1P 5T1
Take Action: Write to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly
In recent years, Canada’s arms sales to Israel have significantly increased with 315 export permits granted in 2022 along with military exports of $21,329,783. These figures do not include Canadian parts exported to the USA, which in turn are integrated into US military equipment such as F-35 aircraft supplied to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). At the time of writing, figures for 2023 were not available.
During IDF operations in the occupied Gaza Strip in October-December 2023, Amnesty International documented repeated violations of international humanitarian law and potential war crimes. Despite such concerns, Canadian officials did not conduct any additional reviews of Canadian military exports to Israel.
Write to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly calling on them to suspend all arms export and brokering authorizations to Israel and any direct or indirect transfer of equipment that could be used against civilians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories until Canada can guarantee that they will not be used to commit or facilitate violations of international human rights or humanitarian law. Further call for the government of Canada to support a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
You can also submit comments via the contact form on the Prime Minister’s website.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0G2
On October 7, 2023, Hamas and other armed groups launched indiscriminate rockets and sent fighters into southern Israel and committed war crimes, such as deliberate mass killings of civilians and hostage taking. According to Israeli authorities, at least 239 people, mostly civilians, including 33 children, were taken as hostages by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza. As of December 1, 113 hostages held by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza had been released and 240 Palestinians detainees and prisoners in Israel prisons have been released as part of an agreement during a ‘humanitarian pause’ that began on November 24 and ended on December 1.
Amnesty International is calling for an immediate sustained ceasefire, the release of all remaining civilian hostages, and for Israel to end its illegal and inhumane siege of Gaza. Amnesty International is also calling for a comprehensive UN Security Council arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other armed groups that covers the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and military material, including related technologies, parts and components, technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance.
What else can I do to help?
For more ways to take action and further information on the current crisis and Amnesty’s work on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, check out the action toolkit on our country page.
Top image: Damage caused to the Abu Mu’eileq family home by air strikes in Gaza. Photo by Amnesty International.