Crackdown on Palestinian protesters raise questions about UK arms trade with Israel

30 March 2019 - 1:15pm
Press release

Palestinian protesters have come out in the thousands today to mark the one-year anniversary of the Great Return March, and the annual Land Day commemoration of Palestinian citizens of Israel killed by Israeli security forces decades ago when protesting land grabs. Israeli security forces have again opened fire on the unarmed protesters, with casualties already reported today including a 17 year old shot in the face by Israeli snipers.

Responding to the news, War on Want’s Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security, Ryvka Barnard, said:

"Palestinians have every right to protest Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza, which has been identified as collective punishment, a war crime, by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross; and they are absolutely entitled to press for their return to the homes and lands from which they were forcibly expelled, which is their right under international law.

It is unconscionable that so many Palestinians, simply exercising their right to protest, have been shot down, over 200 killed in cold blood by Israeli snipers in the past year, including children, medics, and journalists, and over 29,000 injured, many of them with life-altering injuries. As the UN Human Rights Council, and the International Criminal Court have made clear, those responsible for these deaths must be held to account.

But it is not only the Israeli military and government that bears responsibility for this brutal and unlawful violence; the UK government continues to approve the sale of weapons to the Israeli military, despite full knowledge of the human rights abuse that they are used for.

Over the past 5 years, the UK government has approved over £500million worth of arms exports to Israel. Those exports didn’t halt even as Israel was being investigated for war crimes stemming from unlawful use of force, and even as the UK government itself was issuing statements of concern about Israel’s violations of international law.

These arms exports fuel human rights abuse and horrible violence, and the fact that UK continues to allow them, and to vote against resolutions calling for human rights and accountability in the UN, shows that the UK government has no regard for human rights, for international law, and for basic notions of justice.

The UK must end its complicity in violence and human rights abuse against Palestinians by ending its arms trade with Israel now.”

 

Ryvka Barnard is available for interview on request. Contact War on Want media at media@waronwant.org or 07983 550 728.


Notes to editors:

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