Open Letter to impose a comprehensive two-way arms embargo Israel

Published on Thu Sep 02 2021

The ELSC joined a global coalition of leaders from civil society to academia, art, media, business, politics, indigenous and faith communities, and people of conscience around the world– to call upon the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to act decisively to put an end to Israel’s 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.

Read the whole 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 Network – Edmonton
  91. Palestinian and Jewish Unity
  92. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
  93. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall)
  94. Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO)
  95. Pax Christi International
  96. Pax Christi, England and Wales
  97. Paz con Dignidad
  98. Platform of French NGOs for Palestine
  99. Salaam ragazzi dell’Olivo, comitato di Trieste
  100. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  101. SODePAZ
  102. Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative
  103. The Civic Coalition for Palestinians Right in Jérusalem
  104. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
  105. The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)
  106. The National Association of Human Rights Defenders 
  107. The Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
  108. The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)
  109. The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy-MIFTAH
  110. UJFP French Jewish union for peace
  111. Union syndicale Solidaires
  112. US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
  113. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  114. Visualizing Palestine
  115. Vrede vzw
  116. Vredesactie
  117. War on Want
  118. Women for Palestine
  119. Women in Black Vienna
  120. Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling

    Joining individuals
  121. Ahmed Ben
  122. Ahmed Reda Tolba
  123. Alaa Shalaby
  124. Alaaeddine Tatak
  125. Aline Shaban
  126. Amin Abbas
  127. Andrea Balduzzi
  128. Angie Mindel
  129. Ann McNicholas
  130. Anne Peacey
  131. Ashley Tellis
  132. Atamjit Singh
  133. Audrey J Bomse
  134. Badee M.T. Aldwaik
  135. Baruti Likoyi
  136. Bernadette McPhee
  137. Chirag Shah
  138. Claudia Karas
  139. Claudia Schiavelli
  140. Denise Peillon
  141. Denotter JJ
  142. Devaki Khanna
  143. Dr. Ibrahim Lada’a
  144. Dr. Nerina Cecchin
  145. Egbert Harmsen
  146. Marc Fayard
  147. Firoz Ahmad
  148. Flavia Lepre
  149. Françoise Abadie
  150. Frstot Marie-Paule
  151. Gabriel Mondragón Toledo
  152. Geeta Kapur
  153. Geeta Kapur
  154. Georges Franco
  155. Gillard Francois
  156. Gina Cardosi
  157. Githa Hariharan
  158. Gregory Kotoy
  159. Gyan Prakash
  160. Haidi Ali Muhammad Eltayeb
  161. Hélène Le Cacheux
  162. Herman De Ley
  163. Huwaida Arraf
  164. Ian Ampleford
  165. Ian Mc Cabe
  166. Indu Chandrasekhar
  167. Jake Javanshir
  168. James Dickins
  169. James Lafferty
  170. John King
  171. Joop Hoekstra
  172. Julia Auf Dem Brinke
  173. Julie Hart
  174. Kalyani Chaudhuri
  175. Karel Arnaut
  176. Karin Brothers
  177. Karin Verelst
  178. Kathryn Kelly
  179. Kellie Tranter
  180. Lauren Speiser
  181. Laurent De Wangen
  182. Lee Rhiannon
  183. Luisa Morgantini
  184. M.N. Harakeh
  185. Madeline Lutjeharms
  186. Maha Abdallah
  187. Maha Alami
  188. Malini Bhattacharya
  189. Mani Shankar Aiyar
  190. Marcy Newman
  191. Maria Bartolacci
  192. Marjorie Cohn
  193. Martin Mavenjina
  194. Massimiliano Masini
  195. Maxime Florentin
  196. Maya Devi
  197. Michael Letwin
  198. Michel Gevers
  199. Mohamad Arouki
  200. Mohamed Aboelazm
  201. Mohammad Al Nabulsi
  202. Mohan Rao
  203. Monique Vincent
  204. Muralidharan K
  205. Nalini Nayak
  206. Nandini Sundar
  207. Naresh Dadhich
  208. Nasir Tyabji
  209. Navdeep Mathur
  210. Nick Deane
  211. Nozomi Takahashi
  212. Oishik Sircar
  213. P A Azeez
  214. Pamela Blakelock
  215. Pamela Philipose
  216. Paola Manduca
  217. Patrick Lechopier
  218. Persis Ginwalla
  219. Pierre Bordone
  220. Pushpa Achanta
  221. Pushpamala N
  222. Raffaele Spiga
  223. Rajni Palriwala
  224. Rev Joseph Ryan
  225. Rey Asis
  226. Rudolf Knutti
  227. S. Raghunandana
  228. Salim Yusufji
  229. Sellin Jean-Christophe
  230. Shafey Kidwai
  231. Sharib Aqleem Ali
  232. Sigour Brigitte
  233. Sonia Fayman
  234. Stephen Flaherty
  235. Sue Ingham
  236. Sumanta Banerjee
  237. Terri Ginsberg
  238. Valter Mutt
  239. Vinay Bharadwaj
  240. Vincent Basabé
  241. Winfried Belz
  242. Yousuf Saeed
  243. Yves Goaer
  244. Yves Jardin

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