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   Summary of a Israel-Palestine report issued by the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Backgrounding the News:

Summary of a Israel-Palestine report issued by the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

One organization tracking the Israeli/Palestinian situation notes that, since 1950, the U.S. has given Israel over $46 billion in military aid--more than to any other country. According to Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act, U.S. arms may only be used for purposes of 'legitimate self defense'.

The press has given much attention to the horrific loss of Israeli civilian lives caused by Palestinian suicide bombers. Yet civilian deaths and casualties have occurred among Palestinians as well as Israelis. Following are reports from various sources:

The Israeli Center for Human Rights (B'Tselem):

  • 794 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories since September 29, 2000. Of these, 189 were children less than 18 years old.
  • During the two-week period of February 28-March 13, 2002, the Israeli army fired at ambulances on numerous occasions, killing five Palestinian medical personnel, wounding several others, and damaging ambulances.
The Palestine Monitor has included the following reports.
  • Between February 28 and March 9, Israeli forces killed 135 Palestinians.
  • Since September 2000, approximately 60% of Palestinian deaths were inflicted by live ammunition. Approximately 78% of those killed were civilians.
  • Shells from tank fire, bombs, and missiles from helicopters and F-16 jets have been responsible for 267 deaths since September 2000.
  • Forty-four percent of Palestinian deaths in recent months were due to shootings in the head, neck or chest, including 35 people shot from behind. Another 37% died as a result of scattered gunshot wounds throughout their bodies.
Amnesty International (annual report for 2001) notes that Israeli forces wounded approximately 10,000 Palestinians during the past year.

Friends Committee on National Legislation states the following:
"The U.S. shares complicity in these Palestinian deaths and injuries because of the vast amounts of weapons and ammunition that are supplied by the U.S. to Israel and then used against Palestinian civilians. Frequently, these armaments are labeled as Excess Defense Articles (EDA), and provided to Israel free of charge." Between 1994-1999 the U.S. provided the following EDA to Israel:

  • 64,744 M-16A1 rifles,
  • 2,469 M-204 grenade launchers,
  • 1,500 M-2 .50 caliber machine guns,
  • .30 caliber, .50 caliber, and 20mm ammunition.
The FCNL report continues: "Israel also uses helicopters and F-16 fighter jets extensively in the Occupied Territories. Missiles fired from U.S.-supplied helicopters are frequently used to carry out the extra-judicial assassination of suspected Palestinian extremists. These attacks resulted in over 60 Palestinian deaths in 2001. Apache attack helicopters have been used to disperse Palestinian demonstrators and have targeted residential areas in Hebron, West Bank. Cobra attack helicopters were allegedly used in Israel's attacks on Palestinian radio stations, President Arafat's headquarters, and Palestinian Authority police and security buildings. U.S.-supplied F-16's have repeatedly bombed targets associated with institutions of the Palestinian Authority. On two separate occasions in 1999 and 2000, the U.S. sold hundreds of Hellfire laser-guided missiles to Israel. These missiles have repeatedly been used against civilians.

"Israeli forces have made extensive use of military tanks during recent months. During the week of March 10, hundreds of Israeli tanks reoccupied Palestinian autonomous areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Over 150 Israeli tanks entered the city of Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem. The U.S. does not supply tanks to Israel (Israel manufactures its own). However, in November 1999 the U.S. sold Israel 400 GD883 tank engines.

"Since 1950, the U.S. has given Israel over $46 billion in military aid--more than any other country. According to Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act, U.S. arms may only be used for purposes of 'legitimate self defense'."

FCNL concludes, "The U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in the Middle East by enforcing U.S. conditions on weapons transfers to Israel."


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This story was published on April 4, 2002.
  
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