Over 100 organizations issue call for arms embargo on Israel

Photo: Labour Against the Arms Trade

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is an endorser of the following open letter, calling for a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on the Israeli occupation — prohibiting the sale of arms to Israel or the purchase of arms from Israel, often “battle-tested” on Palestinians and Arabs throughout occupied Palestine and in Lebanon and Syria. Read the full letter below: 

Open Letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty on the Need to Impose a Comprehensive Two-Way Arms Embargo on Israel

We, the undersigned global coalition of leaders –from civil society to academia, art, media, business, politics, indigenous and faith communities, and people of conscience around the world– call upon the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to act decisively to put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment for the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights against Palestinian civilians by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.

In the spring of 2021, the world once again watched in horror as Israeli occupying forces attacked defenceless Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and inside Israel. Palestinian civilians peacefully protesting against colonisation of their land were assaulted with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs, tear gas and skunk water. Israel’s deadly military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip was the fourth in a decade. Over 11 days, 248 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children. Thousands were wounded, and the reverberating effects of the use of explosive weapons on hospitals, schools, food security, water, electricity and shelter continue to affect millions.

This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.

Symbolic statements of condemnation alone will not put an end to this suffering. In accordance with the relevant rules of the ATT, States Parties have legal obligations to put an end to irresponsible and often complicit trade of conventional arms that undermines international peace and security, facilitates commission of egregious crimes, and threatens the international legal order.

Under Article 6(3) of the ATT, States Parties undertook not to authorise any transfer of conventional arms if they have knowledge at the time of authorisation that arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which they are a Party.

Under Articles 7 and 11, they undertook not to authorise any export of conventional arms, munitions, parts and components that would, inter alia, undermine peace and security or be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

It is clear that arms exports to Israel are inconsistent with these obligations. Invariably, Israel has shown that it uses arms to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, as documented by countless United Nations bodies and civil society organisations worldwide. Military exports to Israel also clearly enabled, facilitated and maintained Israel’s decades-long settler-colonial and apartheid regime imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole.

Similarly, arms imports from Israel are wholly inconsistent with obligations under the ATT. Israeli military and industry sources openly boast that their weapons and technologies are “combat proven” – in other words, field-tested on Palestinian civilians “human test subjects”. When States import Israeli arms, they are encouraging it to keep bombing Palestinian civilians and persist in its unlawful practices. No one –neither Israel, nor arms manufacturers in ATT States parties– should be allowed to profit from the killing or maiming of Palestinian civilians.

It is thus abundantly clear that imposing a two-way arms embargo on Israel is both a legal and a moral obligation. ATT States Parties must immediately terminate any current, and prohibit any future transfers of conventional arms, munitions, parts and components referred to in Article 2(1), Article 3 or Article 4 of the ATT to Israel, until it ends its illegal belligerent occupation of the occupied Palestinian territory and complies fully with its obligations under international law. Pending such an embargo, all States must immediately suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to Israel.

A failure to take these actions entails a heavy responsibility for the grave suffering of civilians – more deaths, more suffering, as thousands of Palestinian men, women and children continue to bear the brutality of a colonial belligerent occupying force– which would result in discrediting the ATT itself. It also renders States parties complicit in internationally wrongful acts through the aiding or abetting of international crimes.  A failure in taking action could also result in invoking the individual criminal responsibility of individuals of these States for aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in accordance with Article 25(3)(c) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Justice will remain elusive so long as Israel’s unlawful occupation, settler-colonialism, apartheid regime, and persecution and institutionalised oppression of the Palestinian people are allowed to continue, and so long as States continue to be complicit in the occupying Power’s crimes by trading weapons with it.

In conclusion, we believe that the ATT can make a difference in the Palestinian civilians’ lives. It has the potential, if implemented in good faith, to spare countless protected persons from suffering. If our call to stop leaving the Palestinian people behind when it comes to implementation of the ATT is ignored, the raison d’être of the ATT will be shattered.

Joining organisations:

  1. Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines
  2. Adalah Justice Project
  3. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
  4. AFPS 63
  5. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
  6. Aldameer Association for Human Rights
  7. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
  8. Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society
  9. American Muslims for Palestine
  10. Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
  11. Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)
  12. Arab Canadian Lawyers Association
  13. Arab Organization for Human Rights
  14. Argenteuil Solidarité Palestine
  15. Asociación Americana de Juristas
  16. Association Belgo-Palestinienne WB
  17. Association femmes plurielles
  18. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
  19. AssoPacePalestina
  20. Australia Palestine Advocacy Network
  21. Australian Centre for International Justice
  22. Australians For Palestine
  23. Badayl
  24. BDS Australia
  25. Begian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  26. Campagne BDS France
  27. Canadian BDS Coalition
  28. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
  29. Center for Constitutional Rights
  30. Center for International Policy
  31. Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios Estratégicos para la Seguridad y el Desarrollo Social CIESED A.C.
  32. CNAPD – Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie
  33. Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine
  34. Collectif 69 de Soutien au Peuple Palestinien
  35. Collectif BDS 57
  36. Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine
  37. Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines
  38. Columban missionaries Britain
  39. Columbia Law Students for Palestine
  40. Combatants for Peace
  41. Comitato BDS Campania
  42. Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe
  43. Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient asbl
  44. Community Action Center – Al-Quds University
  45. Confederación Intersindical Gallega (CIG)
  46. Cultura è Libertà, una campagna per la Palestina
  47. Dagropass
  48. De Palestijnse gemeenschap in Nederland
  49. Defense for Children -Palestine (DCI-Palestine)
  50. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
  51. docP – BDS Netherlands
  52. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  53. European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)
  54. European Legal Support Center
  55. Femmes Unies pour la Paix dans la région des Grands Lacs
  56. FILEF Sydney Federation of Italian Migrant Workers
  57. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
  58. Friends of Palestine Tasmania Inc
  59. Gaza Action Ireland
  60. Gesellschaft Schweiz Palästina GSP/ASP
  61. Global Kairos Asia Pacific Solidarity For Palestine (GKAPS)
  62. Good Shepherd Collective
  63. Housing and Land Rights Network
  64. Human Rights and Democratic Participation Center “SHAMS”
  65. Human Rights Network Nigeria
  66. ICAHD Finland
  67. ICAHD UK
  68. Independent Jewish Voices Canada
  69. Indian Writers Forum
  70. Indo Palestine Solidarity Forum
  71. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
  72. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
  73. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  74. Jewish Voice For Peace
  75. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
  76. Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
  77. Karapatan
  78. Kenya Human Rights Commission
  79. Labor for Palestine
  80. Manushya Foundation
  81. National Association of Democratic Lawyers (South Africa)
  82. National Justice & Peace Network (NJPN)
  83. National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Subcommittee
  84. Nederlands Palestina Komitee
  85. Newweapons research group
  86. Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel (NMJPI)
  87. North Notts Unite Community
  88. NOVACT
  89. Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
  90. Palestine Solidarity Committee – Stuttgart, Germany
  91. Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton
  92. Palestinian and Jewish Unity
  93. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
  94. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall)
  95. Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO)
  96. Pax Christi International
  97. Pax Christi, England and Wales
  98. Paz con Dignidad
  99. Platform of French NGOs for Palestine
  100. Salaam ragazzi dell’Olivo, comitato di Trieste
  101. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  102. SODePAZ
  103. Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative
  104. The Civic Coalition for Palestinians Right in Jérusalem
  105. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
  106. The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)
  107. The National Association of Human Rights Defenders
  108. The Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
  109. The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)
  110. The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy-MIFTAH
  111. UJFP French Jewish union for peace
  112. Union syndicale Solidaires
  113. US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
  114. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  115. Visualizing Palestine
  116. Vrede vzw
  117. Vredesactie
  118. War on Want
  119. Women for Palestine
  120. Women in Black Vienna
  121. Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling

Joining individuals:

  1. Ahmed Ben
  2. Ahmed Reda Tolba
  3. Alaa Shalaby
  4. Alaaeddine Tatak
  5. Aline Shaban
  6. Amin Abbas
  7. Andrea Balduzzi
  8. Angie Mindel
  9. Ann McNicholas
  10. Anne Peacey
  11. Ashley Tellis
  12. Atamjit Singh
  13. Attia Rajab
  14. Audrey J Bomse
  15. Badee M.T. Aldwaik
  16. Baruti Likoyi
  17. Bernadette McPhee
  18. Chirag Shah
  19. Claudia Karas
  20. Claudia Schiavelli
  21. Denise Peillon
  22. Denotter JJ
  23. Devaki Khanna
  24. Ibrahim Lada’a
  25. Nerina Cecchin
  26. Egbert Harmsen
  27. Marc Fayard
  28. Firoz Ahmad
  29. Flavia Lepre
  30. Françoise Abadie
  31. Frstot Marie-Paule
  32. Gabriel Mondragón Toledo
  33. Geeta Kapur
  34. Geeta Kapur
  35. Georges Franco
  36. Gillard Francois
  37. Gina Cardosi
  38. Githa Hariharan
  39. Gregory Kotoy
  40. Gyan Prakash
  41. Haidi Ali Muhammad Eltayeb
  42. Hélène Le Cacheux
  43. Herman De Ley
  44. Huwaida Arraf
  45. Ian Ampleford
  46. Ian Mc Cabe
  47. Indu Chandrasekhar
  48. Jake Javanshir
  49. James Dickins
  50. James Lafferty
  51. Jamie Jackson, Co-host, Understanding Israel Palestine Beyond the Walls, KKFI radio
  52. John King
  53. Joop Hoekstra
  54. Julia Auf Dem Brinke
  55. Julie Hart
  56. Kalyani Chaudhuri
  57. Karel Arnaut
  58. Karin Brothers
  59. Karin Verelst
  60. Kathryn Kelly
  61. Kellie Tranter
  62. Lauren Speiser
  63. Laurent De Wangen
  64. Lee Rhiannon
  65. Luisa Morgantini
  66. N. Harakeh
  67. Madeline Lutjeharms
  68. Maha Abdallah
  69. Maha Alami
  70. Malini Bhattacharya
  71. Mani Shankar Aiyar
  72. Marcy Newman
  73. Maria Bartolacci
  74. Marjorie Cohn
  75. Martin Mavenjina
  76. Massimiliano Masini
  77. Maxime Florentin
  78. Maya Devi
  79. Michael Letwin
  80. Michel Gevers
  81. Mohamad Arouki
  82. Mohamed Aboelazm
  83. Mohammad Al Nabulsi
  84. Mohan Rao
  85. Monique Vincent
  86. Muralidharan K
  87. Nalini Nayak
  88. Nandini Sundar
  89. Naresh Dadhich
  90. Nasir Tyabji
  91. Navdeep Mathur
  92. Nick Deane
  93. Nozomi Takahashi
  94. Oishik Sircar
  95. P A Azeez
  96. Pamela Blakelock
  97. Pamela Philipose
  98. Paola Manduca
  99. Patrick Lechopier
  100. Persis Ginwalla
  101. Pierre Bordone
  102. Pushpa Achanta
  103. Pushpamala N
  104. Raffaele Spiga
  105. Rajni Palriwala
  106. Rev Joseph Ryan
  107. Rey Asis
  108. Rudolf Knutti
  109. Raghunandana
  110. Salim Yusufji
  111. Sellin Jean-Christophe
  112. Shafey Kidwai
  113. Sharib Aqleem Ali
  114. Sigour Brigitte
  115. Sonia Fayman
  116. Stephen Flaherty
  117. Sue Ingham
  118. Sumanta Banerjee
  119. Terri Ginsberg
  120. Valter Mutt
  121. Verena Rajab
  122. Vinay Bharadwaj
  123. Vincent Basabé
  124. Winfried Belz
  125. Yousuf Saeed
  126. YVes Goaer
  127. Yves Jardin