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Palestinian civil society calls for military embargo of Israel

Youth activists deliver embargo demands to UN offices in Ramallah (view more)

Youth activists deliver embargo demands to UN offices in Ramallah (view more)

Palestinian civil society calls for full and comprehensive military embargo of Israel with international support and endorsement from of Nobel laureates


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

“A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It forms 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’s call.

The call comes amidst mounting pressure to hold Israel accountable to international law, including from the Freedom Flotilla 2 and the Welcome to Palestine “Fly-in” which began arriving at Tel-Aviv airport this morning amidst chaotic scenes despite many activists being prevented from flying from Western airports.

Palestinian activists with the Hirak Shababi youth movement gathered in front of the United Nations office in Ramallah to symbolically deliver the call along with evidence of international military collusion with Israel.

Youth activist Aghsan said: “We face Israeli repression and violence on a daily basis. Our generation has grown up under occupation and seeing friends and relatives killed, injured or imprisoned.  We demand that the international community stops funding and profiting from the military and security apparatus that sustains the colonial Israeli apartheid regime. All trade and cooperation must stop. Young Palestinians demand a comprehensive military embargo now"

Supporters of the military embargo call include Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Alternative Nobel Prize winners Walden Bello and Chico Whitaker 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.

Trade union confederations such as the South African COSATU and the Brazilian CUT, have announced their support for the campaign.

A spokesperson for COSATU said: “States and inter-state organizations, such as the United Nations, have a legal obligation to ensure that Israel complies with international law, but they have failed to do so. Impunity emboldens Israel while its international military trade relations bankroll and entrench its continued violence, militarism and expansionism..”

Civil society groups from more than a dozen countries are set to announce their support for the campaign and the actions they intend to take over the course of the launch.

The European Network Against the Arms Trade will announce its support of the military embargo call on Monday.

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.


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In Europe            +44 (0) 2032 392 170

* Lo-res photos available on Flikr. Hi-res photos from the delivery of the demands today in Ramallah will be available on request from [email protected]

* A copy of the full call to action by the BNC, and detailed background paper on the arms trade with is available at or email [email protected]

* 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 totaled $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 licenses worth over 1 billion euros in arms sales to Israel.




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