Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Made in America

Amnesty International has been investigating who provided the weapons for Israel's recent bombing of Gaza. And they discovered that - as expected - Israel's weapons, including the white phosphorus it used to murder civilians, were made in and paid for by America:

Amnesty researchers in Gaza found several weapon fragments after the fighting. One came from a 500lb (227kg) Mark-82 fin guided bomb, which had markings indicating parts were made by the US company Raytheon. They also found fragments of US-made white phosphorus artillery shells, marked M825 A1.

On 15 January, several white phosphorus shells fired by the Israeli military hit the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza City, destroying medicine, food and aid. One fragment found at the scene had markings indicating it was made by the Pine Bluff Arsenal, based in Arkansas, in October 1991.


At the scene of an Israeli attack that killed three Palestinian paramedics and a boy in Gaza City on 4 January, Amnesty found fragments of an AGM114 Hellfire missile, made by Hellfire Systems of Orlando, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The missile is often fired from Apache helicopters.

As for the Palestinians, most of their weapons (such as they are) were homebuilt or supplied by illegal arms dealers.

Amnesty is calling for a total arms embargo against the two sides, and a suspension of US military aid (those weapons - including the white phosphorus Israel uses to melt the skin off children - aren't sold, but are paid for by the US taxpayer). It's a good idea. It won't stop the killing - Israel has built up a large domestic arms industry precisely in case of such an eventuality - but by depriving both sides of weapons, it should reduce them. And if the Israelis have to pay for their own wars, maybe they'll fight fewer of them...