Statement regarding the acquisition of Elbit technology by the Philippines
Do not profit from Israel’s military aggressions against the Palestinian people
With strong disappointment we have read the news about the announced delivery of 28 Israeli upgraded APCs (armored personnel carriers) to the Philippines’ army. According to news reports, the US$20 million deal was signed with the Israeli military company Elbit Systems on June 22, 2014 and the first APCs are to be handed over in 2015 .
Since July 8, Israel has been waging a brutal military aggression against 1.8 million Palestinians in the occupied and tightly besieged Gaza Strip. Over 2122 Palestinians have been killed, over ten thousand injured , and much of the civilian infrastructure destroyed. Universities, schools, UN humanitarian shelters, the sanitation system and the only electricity plant in Gaza have been bombed by Israel, aggravating an already devastated civilian infrastructure.
Palestinians thank the government of the Philippines for voting in favour the UN Human Rights Council resolution (A/HRC/S-21/L.1) on ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem. But we wish to highlight the utter contradiction inherent in the decision of the Philippines government to buy Israeli weapons that are “field-tested” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza while simultaneously condemning “in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes” .
The Israeli assault on Gaza, described by leaders in France, Brazil, Turkey and elsewhere as a “massacre,” has been dubbed by the Israeli media a ‘cash cow’ for the Israeli arms industry, which is testing and displaying its weapons during the repeated Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian and other Arab people. De facto, the ties of complicity of the Israeli arms industry in the Israeli policies of human rights violations extend from war profiteering, to knowingly providing weaponry and technology that are persistently used in the Israeli commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity during its belligerent military attacks, to participation in the construction of the illegal Israeli Wall and colonial settlement enterprise.
Elbit Systems, the leading Israeli weapons manufacturer benefiting from the reported contract, provides equipment for the Israeli Merkava tanks and produces the armed drones used in the wars and attacks against civilians in Gaza and Lebanon. Elbit Systems provides the “intrusion detection systems” for the Israeli Apartheid Wall, which is crippling Palestinian communities by isolating them in walled-in ghettos. Moreover, Elbit subsidiaries supplied and incorporated LORROS surveillance cameras in the illegal Ariel settlement section as well as around Ar-Ram in the OPT. This makes Elbit directly complicit in Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights .
For this reason, the Norwegian finance ministry has already in 2009 instructed the state pension fund, the largest sovereign fund in the world, to divest from Elbit Systems, and over a dozen private and public financial institutions in Europe and elsewhere have followed suit. The then Special Rapporteur of the UN for the human rights situation in the occupied Arab territories has called on a boycott of Elbit Systems, and the recently released legal analysis signed by 92 high level legal experts and 41 Palestinian and international legal organizations also points to the illegality of public contracts with corporations involved in serious breaches of peremptory norms of international law, such as Elbit.
We are therefore calling on the government of the Philippines to act in line with its international obligations under international law resulting from the condemnation of Israel’s aggression on the occupied Palestinian territories, the recognition of the sovereignty of the Palestinian state and the ratification of the international conventions on human rights. We ask the government to cancel this contract, and we call on the parliament not to approve the contract or allocate the necessary budget for its implementation.
We trust that the people and the government of the Philippines will stand in support of human rights, international law and a just peace in Palestine and will take the right steps not to become complicit in the ongoing Israeli crimes against our people.