Lopsided US Gaza Response: Amnesty

As Israeli air strikes entered its eighth day on Saturday, January 3, a leading international rights group berated the "lopsided" US support for the ongoing Israeli atrocities in the strip.

"Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the US government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Amnesty said in a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Washington failed to criticize Israel over its attacks in Gaza, which killed 438 people including at least 75 children and 21 women.

The offensive — one of Israel’s deadliest ever against Gaza — has wounded more than 2,285 people.

The White House said Friday that it was up to Israel to launch a ground operation into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

"Those will be decisions made by the Israelis," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Rice also said that Washington was pressing for a ceasefire in which the key element would be stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

Washington blocked on Wednesday, December 31, an Arab draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Israeli planes carried out 20 strikes against targets across Gaza on the eighth consecutive day on Saturday.

Children continued to fall victim to Israel’s assault in the world’s most densely-populated place.

On Friday, a missile fired by an Israeli jet killed three boys while they were playing on a street in southern Gaza.

A 12-year-old girl also died of her wounds after the bombing of a house near Gaza City.

At the same time, Hamas’s armed wing said it had repelled a patrol of Israeli special forces attempting to cross the border into Gaza.

US Weapons

Amnesty urged Washington to halt weapons sales for Israel, which are being used in attacking civilian targets in Gaza.

"The United States must suspend the transfer of weapons to Israel immediately and conduct an investigation into whether US weapons were used to commit human rights abuses."

Israel used US-supplied cluster bombs during the 2006 war in Lebanon, which left up to 1,300 civilians dead.

The United Nations estimates that Israel dropped a few million cluster bombs on Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of those bomblets failed to explode and have continued to maim and kill after that war’s end.

Amnesty also urged Washington to pressure Israel to open up Gaza crossings for humanitarian aid.

Israel has closed all commercial crossings with Gaza, banning fuel and food shipments into the impoverished territory.

Under the siege, people in Gaza live without electricity, water and sewage services for up to 16 hours a day.

"There is a critical emergency in the Gaza Strip right now," said Max Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

"By any definition this is a humanitarian crisis and more."

(IslamOnline.net and Agencies)

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