THE US GOVERNMENT should stop its fuel shipments to Israel, Amnesty International says.
The organisation – which has repeatedly called for a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict – said that a US fuel shipment is currently on its way for use by the Israeli military.
It said that the US government has continued to supply hundreds of thousands of tons of fuel, including fuel for fighter jets and military vehicles, to Israel’s armed forces despite a soaring civilian death toll.
Under the US Foreign Assistance Act no security assistance may be provided to “any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognised human rights”, said Amnesty.
However, successive US administrations have used a clause in the Act that allows the President to continue its supplies to Israel in “extraordinary circumstances”.
The last US jet fuel delivery arrived in Israel on 14 July, a week after the conflict began.
Nine previous shipments were made from the US to Israel during 2013 and 2014.
A fuel tanker with the latest US fuel shipment is now sailing past the Azores and is due to arrive in Israel on 12 August.
Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said that the USA should “immediately suspend all such transfers and back an international investigation into the atrocities being carried out by both sides”.
According to documents provided to Amnesty International by TransArms in Chicago and the International Peace Information Service in Antwerp, on 23 July 2014 the US-flagged oil tanker, the Overseas Mykonos, left the port of Corpus Christi, Texas, after departing from Houston for its declared destination of Ashkelon, where there is a major oil terminal just north of the Gaza Strip.
So far more than 1,800 Palestinians have died, the vast majority of them civilians, including more than 440 children. At least 64 Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians and one Thai national have also been killed in the conflict.
Amnesty International is calling on all other states to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all the parties to the conflict in Gaza.
It also wants the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
US fuel shipments to Israel
Transport documents provided to Amnesty International show:
- The Overseas Santorini and its sister ship Overseas Mykonos docked at Ashkelon oil terminal in Israel at least 10 times since January 2013 – including six times since January 2014
- It delivered a total of 277,000 tons of jet fuel (or 101 million gallons) supplied by the US government to the Israeli Armed Forces. The Athens-based company, OSG Ship Management (GR) Ltd, managed both tankers.
- Seven days after Israel began air attacks on Gaza in Operation Protective Edge on 8 July, the most recent consignment of jet fuel was delivered by a US-flagged oil tanker, the Overseas Santorini.
- The tanker departed from Corpus Christi in Texas on 21 June 2014 and arrived in Ashkelon on 14 July 2014 carrying 26,000 tons (or 9.6 million gallons) of jet fuel under a contract with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Energy.
The US Defense Logistics Agency Energy (DLA Energy) shipped nine of the 10 jet fuel voyages to Israel during 2013 and 2014. The other voyage was overseen by the Government of Israel via its Consulate in New York, said Amnesty
On 16 April 2013 the US Congress was notified that the Israeli government had requested 864 million gallons of JP-8 (jet propulsion) aviation fuel to the value of $2.7 million stating that: “the United States is committed to the security of Israel.”