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Saturday, 12 December 2020

Campaigning success as Electronic Warfare Europe arms fair cancelled by Seville City Council


From BDS Movement LINK

Welcome news of the success of international soldiarity

In a press release issued today by the City Council of Seville, the Councilor of Urban Housing, Tourism and Culture, Antonio Muñoz, announced the cancellation of the Electronic Warfare Europe arms fair which was scheduled to take place at the Palace of Exhibitions and Congresses of Fibes in Seville in May 2021.

The same fair had been cancelled in Liverpool, UK, where Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturer whose arms are regularly used by the Israeli military to kill and maim Palestinian civilians, was a partner. The Liverpool cancellation came after a strong local coalition - Liverpool Against the Electronic Arms Fair, in partnership with Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) - urged Liverpool’s City Council to cancel the unethical event promoting violations of human rights.

Citing the cancellation by Liverpool and predicting negative repercussions for the city, the Seville City Council said the government's decision responds to the "inconvenience of linking the city's image as a major congress venue to a controversial event with national and international repercussions."

The Platform Stop Ferias de Armas celebrated Seville’s cancellation of the arms fair saying:

We do not want to be complicit in the weapons used to repress oppressed peoples such as the Palestinians or the Yemenis. Spanish institutions must not allow arms fairs in their spaces.

They added:

We hope [the Seville] City Council will be consistent and also cancel the Aerospace and Defense Meetings Seville 2021, sponsored by Airbus, a company that profits from war crimes in Yemen.

In a very short period of time, the Platform Stop Feria de Armas en Sevilla, formed by over twenty organizations, had mobilised strong social opposition, sending a letter to the Mayor of Seville, organising a public webinar on militarism, with wide coverage in the mainstream press, and had coordinated with local political parties that also opposed the arms fair.

Speaking for the BDS movement for Palestinian rights that has organized boycott and divestment campaigns against Elbit Systems and other Israeli military companies, Alys Samson Estapé said:

Progressive, anti-war and anti-racist groups are chasing arms fairs out of Europe, first Liverpool and now Seville. There is no place for weapons in our cities. Instead of allowing arms fairs, institutions should end all arms trade with oppressive regimes like Israel, which test their weapons on Palestinians, and then sell them for use in repressing dissent all around the world.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Statement and petition on UK-Israel Military Co-operation Agreement


Last week, it was reported that Israeli Chief of General Staff Aviv Kohavi virtually met with Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter and signed a joint agreement to “formalise and enhance” military co-operation between the UK and Israel.

The deal is understood to encompass military training, organisational design, as well as cyber, maritime and air warfare.

The co-operation agreement strengthens existing British-Israel military co-operation. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the British Ministry of Defence had bought £46million worth of military equipment from Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer Elbit Systems whose equipment has been used extensively to target the civilian population of Gaza. In addition, Britain exports  large amounts of military equipment to Israel, and has 10 troops in Israel to offer military training.

This enhanced co-operation is deeply disturbing to people of conscience in the UK. The Israeli military violates the basic tenets of international humanitarian law in a variety of ways. This includes through enforcing the belligerent military occupation of Palestinian land, as well as the land, air and naval siege on Gaza.

Moreover, during the last two years, the Israeli military has indiscriminately targeted Palestinian protesters in Gaza, marching for their basic human rights as part of the Great March of Return, killing over 250 and injuring over 30,000.

Indiscriminate military force is how Israel maintains its brutal regime of dispossession, occupation, and subjugation of the Palestinian population.

As a result Palestinian civilian society has repeatedly called for states to enact measures to hold Israel to account under international law, and end the climate of international complicity with Israel’s human rights violations. This includes ending all military-security co-operation with Israel and a ban on arms trade.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign stands with Palestinian civil society, and calls for this deal to be rescinded, alongside the enactment of an immediate two-ways arms embargo until Israel complies with international law, and stops using military force to violate the human rights of the Palestinian people. This is the only way the UK government can discharge its obligation not be complicit in Israel’s ongoing breaches of international law.

TAKE ACTION: Sign our petition calling on the UK to revoke the cooperation agreement, and instead enact a two-way arms embargo. Click here!