Palestinians launch campaign to embargo arms sales to Israel

Palestinians launch campaign to embargo arms sales to Israel

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Friday 8 July 2011

Today marks seven years since the international court of justice ruling that the apartheid wall being built by Israel in the occupied West Bank is illegal and should be torn down. Yet the wall continues to be built, cutting children off from schools, farmers from their land and families from each other, devastating virtually every aspect of Palestinian life. A military embargo of Israel is long overdue.

Today, Palestinian civil society and its supporters worldwide are launching a global campaign for a comprehensive, military embargo against Israel, similar to that imposed against apartheid-era South Africa. The UK government continues to sell millions of pounds of arms to Israel in violation of its own arms export policy. In 2010, the UK government approved licences for arms exports to Israel worth £23.7m.

The government also buys military equipment from Israel which is “battle-tested” against Palestinians living in the occupied territories. By selling arms to Israel the UK is giving direct material support for Israel’s aggression and sending a clear message of approval for its actions. A complete arms embargo between the UK and Israel must be implemented immediately.

Hind Awwad Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee

Sarah Colborne Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Yasmin Khan War on Want

Kaye Stearman Campaign Against Arms Trade

From www.guardian.co.uk

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Angel on July 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the “Wall” was just that: an advisory opinion, which means that it has no authority, and it cannot be legally enforced. Or did I miss something? Besides, the rules of the ICJ are that both plaintiff and defendant states (i.e. full fledged members of the UN) must agree beforehand to the jurisdiction of the Court for its decision to be enforceable. And I believe that Israel never agreed to recognize the authority of the Court on this matter. So what’s going on? Are you lying to us? Don’t do that. I trust your opinion, but you can’t be telling us stories than end up making us looking like fools. Please tell us what the real legal implications of the Court’s decision are.

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  2. I have approved this comment and will try to get someone to respond to your questions as soon as possible. The fact that the state of Israel or any other state does not recognise the court’s findings means nothing though. Edwin Arrison

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  3. Posted by john dugard on July 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    THE 2004 ADVISORY OPINION IS NOT BINDING BUT IT HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY
    THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS. IT IS, HOWEVER, A CORRECT AND AUTHORITATIVE STATEMENT OF THE LAW.THE ABOVE STATEMENT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT THE ADVISORY OPINION IS BINDING.

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  4. Posted by Angel on July 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to respond, Edwin. Regarding your point that “The fact that the state of Israel or any other state does not recognise the court’s findings means nothing though.” is I think mistaken. The ICJ, like the Supreme Court in the US, follows a certain number of procedural rules. When it was created after WWII, in order to gain the agreement and trust of nations fiercely protective of their national sovereignty, it had to concede that both plaintiff and defendant would have to agree that the Court could have jurisdiction over any dispute brought in front of it by a plaintiff nation. In this case, it broke that rule by ignoring Israel’s refusal to recognize the Court’s jurisdiction on the matter of the “wall”, and it did it on the basis of a UN General Assembly resolution, an instrument that has no force of law either. Any other nation would have similarly rejected the Court’s attempt to force its judgment down its throat had it been in the same defendant position and not recognized the authority of the Court on the matter at hand. The fact that Israel does not recognize the Court’s findings and conclusions means everything, on the contrary, as events since the judgment have proven, because the Opinion has not made one bit of difference on the ground. It was a Pyrrhic victory based on illegal proceedings. That’s why it is that judgment itself that means nothing. As for The response by John Dugard above, I don’t believe it is a “correct and authoritative statement of the Law”, as he puts it, on at least three grounds: 1. it insisted on playing semantics and denying reality by calling “wall” a security barrier of over 400 kms that is in fact a fence with only 4% of it actually made of walls (in a few areas where Palestinian snipers used to take potshots at Israeli civilians); 2. it conspicuously ignored the very reason for which the barrier was erected in the first place, i.e. Palestinian terrorism, making a mockery of the case (it’s as if someone who killed an intruder about to kill his family is condemned by a judge for murder without considering the notion of self-defense and the right to protect oneself against an aggressor); and 3) it interpreted the 4th Geneva Convention in a way that was never meant by the original writers, who were still under the trauma of WWII (the four GCs were adopted in 1949) and wanted to prevent the forcible transfer by an occupier of its own civilian population. Altogether, I think the 2004 Advisory Opinion on the “Wall” tarnished the reputation of the Court for competence and integrity as it clearly yielded to political pressure from the General Assembly instead of sticking to a strictly legal interpretation and showing the courage needed to maintain judicial independence.

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    • The reason why I maintain that Israel or any nation’s acceptance or non-acceptance of the court’s findings mean nothing, is that if this court or any other major international body made a negative finding against apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, it is clear to me that the apartheid government woud not have accepted it. That means nothing. You might be correct on the technicalities, but on the broader human question you are wrong – the international community must be able to speak to countries on their internal policies and actions whether they agree with it or not. You will also soon learn that it was not in fact a Pyrrhic victory. These things are important for those of us working for non-violent change. You seem to focus only on the violence of the oppressed but are completely ignoring the primary violence. Again, the same thing happened in South Africa: even the churches here expressed concern about the “violence in the townships” while blessing the apartheid army by sending chaplains to it. It is time to focus on the violence and the occupation and to stop that…..

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