Israeli Use of US-supplied ‘Dumb Bombs’ Further Proof of War Crimes, Experts Say

December 15th, 2023 - by Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

“The revelation almost half of bombs
dropped on Gaza
are unguided
dumb bombs completely undercuts

[Israel’s] claim of minimizing civilian harm”
— former UN war crimes investigator
Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

(December 14, 2023) — A US intelligence assessment reported Wednesday by CNN indicates that nearly half of the tens of thousands of air-to-ground munitions that Israel has used in the Gaza Strip since early October have been so-called “dumb bombs,” unguided munitions whose use in densely populated civilian areas could be a war crime.

The assessment was conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and described to CNN by three anonymous sources who told the outlet that somewhere between 40-45% of the munitions Israel has dropped on Gaza have been unguided.

Israel’s frequent use of “dumb bombs” in Gaza further refutes the Netanyahu government’s claim that it is waging war on Hamas and not the entire population of Gaza.

Adil Haque, a professor at Rutgers Law, noted on social media that “the use of inaccurate weapons, with a large destructive radius, in populated areas, may constitute an indiscriminate attack under [international humanitarian law], and the war crime of attacking civilians under the [International Criminal Court] Statute.”

“Alternatively, the use of such weapons could constitute a disproportionate attack, since inaccuracy increases the harm to civilians which may be expected, while reducing the military advantage anticipated,” Haque added. “This could also constitute a war crime under the ICC Statute.”

The details of the US intelligence assessment were leaked to CNN after President Joe Biden acknowledged Tuesday that Israel has engaged in “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza. A day later, Biden administration officials clarified that the president’s remarks did not signal a US policy shift away from unconditional support for Israel, which has admitted to killing two Gaza civilians for every Hamas militant — an estimate that one human rights monitor said is a gross understatement.

Former UN war crimes investigator Marc Garlasco.

Marc Garlasco, a former war crimes investigator for the United Nations, called the US intelligence assessment “shocking.”

“The revelation almost half of all bombs dropped on Gaza by Israel are unguided dumb bombs completely undercuts their claim of minimizing civilian harm,” Garlasco wrote on social media.

The US has supplied Israel with both unguided bombs and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), which are designed to turn “dumb bombs” into GPS-guided weapons. An Amnesty International investigation released last week found that the Israeli military used American-made JDAMs to bomb two homes in Gaza in October, killing 43 members of two families.

During the first month-and-a-half of Israel’s assault on Gaza, Israel dropped more than 22,000 US-supplied bombs on Gaza, according to The Washington Post.

Reuters reported Thursday that as US officials asked their Israeli counterparts to protect civilians in the strip — requests that have thus far been ignored — “Israel pounded the length of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing families in their homes.”

“In Rafah, jammed with people in makeshift tents on Gaza’s southern edge, people wept at a morgue where bodies of those killed in the latest overnight air strikes were wrapped in bloodied shrouds. Some were small children,” the outlet continued. “The adjacent homes of the Abu Dhbaa and Ashour families had been obliterated by a massive airstrike, and residents were picking forlornly through rubble. Gaza health authorities said 26 people had been killed there.”

Jake Johnson is a senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams.

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