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Palestinian society calls for military embargo on Israel

As pressure to end Israel’s impunity mounts: Palestinian civil society calls for comprehensive military embargo on Israel

8 July 2011

• Youth movement activists deliver call and proof of military collusion with Israel to UN and consulates
• Organizations representing millions around the globe as well as Nobel Peace Prize winners including Desmond Tutu express support for the Palestinian embargo call

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest Palestinian coalition encompassing all Palestinian political parties, trade unions, NGOs and mass organisations, has called for an immediate and comprehensive military embargo on Israel.

“A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It would form a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region, and it constitutes an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law,” reads the BNC embargo call.

Palestinian activists with the Hirak Shababi youth movement are this morning gathering in front of the United Nations office in Ramallah to symbolically deliver the call and evidence of international military collusion with Israel.

The call comes amidst mounting pressure to hold Israel accountable to international law, including from the Freedom Flotilla 2 and the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign of hundreds of activists due to arrive at Tel-Aviv airport today.

Supporters of the military embargo call include Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa), Mairead Maguire (Ireland), Betty Williams (Ireland) and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina). Alternative Nobel Prize winners Walden Bello (Philippines) and Chico Whitaker (Brazil) and best-selling Canadian writer and journalist Naomi Klein have also supported the demands of the call.

“I endorse this call for an arms embargo because we desire peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis through non-violent ways,” said Archbishop Tutu. Naomi Klein explained, “This much-deserved military embargo is a crucial step towards ending Israel's impunity."

Civil society organizations representing millions of people from all across the globe, including trade union confederations such as the South African COSATU and the Brazilian CUT, anti-arms trade, justice and solidarity campaigns and networks, have announced their support for the military embargo call against Israel and the actions they intend to take to implement the campaign.

The call has been released to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling confirming the illegality of Israel’s West Bank apartheid Wall and the sixth anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.

The BNC has today published a detailed legal and political analysis of international military relations with Israel and their impact.

A background document published today by the BNC argues that military cooperation with Israel is a key form of international complicity with Israeli violations of international law. In 2010, approximately 80% of Israel’s military production output was exported, and exports by Israeli arms companies totalled $7.2bn. From 2000 to 2009, the United States gave to Israel $24.1bn in military aid. Using this public money, the United States delivered weapons and related equipment valued at $18.9bn during the same period. From 2003 to 2008, European Union member states approved licences worth over 1 billion euros in arms sales to Israel. Brazil’s major programs signed with Israel total close to one billion US dollars. Furthermore, Israeli arms industry is increasingly buying Brazilian arms industry corporations and forging joint ventures and strategic relationships.

ENDS

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