Fact sheet: The case for a military embargo on Israel
Israel’s illegal use of military violenc
– Israel uses military force to maintain an unlawful regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. This system is put in place in order to control as much land with as few indigenous Palestinians on it as possible, and to prevent the Palestinian people from exercising its inalienable right to self-determination.
– Between 2000 and 2010 alone, Israeli armed forces injured tens of thousands and killed more than 7,000 Palestinians.
– Israel has a documented track record of breaching international humanitarian and human rights law during its armed conflicts. This includes during its military operations, invasions and occupations of Palestinian and other Arab territory. Israel’s wars are acts of aggression, rather than “self-defence”, and are therefore in violation of international law. Israel’s military forces have officially adopted a doctrine of disproportionate force, otherwise known as the “Dahiya Doctrine”, which calls for severely hurting civilians and civilian infrastructure as the most “effective” means of stopping or undermining irregular resistance forces. The UN and other bodies have repeatedly documented war crimes and crimes against humanity.
– Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.
Military aid and exports to Israel
– Over the period 2009-2018, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn. In 2011, the average US taxpayer gave Israel $21 in military aid. This military aid is often used to purchase military equipment from US companies. Since 2000, the US has licensed the export of nearly 825 million weapons valued at nearly $10.5 billion.
– European Union countries also export huge volumes of weapons and military equipment to Israel. In the period 2005-09, EU countries granted arms exports licenses to Israel worth €7.47bn. Weapons exports from the EU to Israel during 2012 were worth €613 million, up 290% on the previous year.
– Governments that license arms sales to Israel are giving clear approval to its on-going aggression against the Palestinian people and other Arab peoples in the region, while the companies that manufacture and sell the arms are profiting from and encouraging Israel’s colonial violence and violations of international law.
Exporting ‘field tested technology’
– According to figures contained in US government research for the period 2008-11, 7.Israel is the 7th largest arms exporter in the world and the largest per capita exporter. In 2010, approximately 80% of Israel’s military production was exported, and exports by Israeli arms companies totalled $7.2bn.
– Revenue from exports of military equipment and technology provides a vital revenue source for the Israeli government and military. As the military industry becomes increasingly important to the Israeli economy, a powerful incentive for continued occupation, colonialism, warmongering and military aggression is being created.
– Israel’s persistent attacks on Palestinians provide an opportunity for Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industries to showcase their new technology. Israeli military companies market their military exports as “field tested”, by which they mean that their technology has been tested during “live” assaults on Palestinian civilians.
– Following the 2008-09 assault on Gaza, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, predominantly civilians, the Israeli army and military industry held a trade show in which they showed how their new technologies were used against Palestinians.
– Israel plays a leading role in exporting arms, equipment and technology to oppressive regimes. As well as exporting military and security technology and equipment itself, it is also exporting an ideology of securitisation, militarization of law enforcement as well as intense increasing oppression and domination.
Israel’s deadly drones
– Israel regularly uses armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, in its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. According to the Al Mezan Center, more than 1000 Palestinians in Gaza were killed by armed drones in the period 2000-10.
– Israel is now reportedly the largest exporter of drones in the world. Military companies Israeli Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems export the technology that is tested on Palestinians in Gaza all across the world.
– Countries that have procured UAVs from Elbit include Australia, Canada, Croatia, France, Georgia, Mexico, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, Brazil and USA.
Joint Military Research: Direct complicity in Israel’s crimes
– As well as direct arms and military trade, Israel also engages in joint military and security research, training and development with countries across the world.
– Most notably, Israeli military companies are able to participate in EU research programs. In the period 2007-13, Israeli military companies took part in research projects to which the EU awarded €244m.
The Palestinian call for a military embargo
– In 2011, the Palestinian BDS National Committee issued a call for a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, which means an end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel.
– A comprehensive military embargo is a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and peoples of the region and a vital and effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law.
– A number of countries including Norway and Turkey have implemented forms of military embargo on Israel in the past. Germany recently decided not to go ahead with a military aid deal with Israel.
– More than a dozen European banks have divested from Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, over its role in Israel’s military violence.
Taking effective action to #StopArmingIsrael
Take action now to help Stop Arming Israel:
– Sign the call for a military embargo launched by Nobel Prize winners and artists. Add your name here.
–Share the links to the military embargo petition and to this fact sheet on social media.
–Take action online now to demand that the EU stops funding Israeli military companies.
– Write to your government to demand a military embargo on Israel and ask organisations that you are part of to put pressure on your government.
– Get in touch for help on starting a divestment campaign against companies and banks that are implicated in Israel’s military aggression and war crimes