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Support Amnesty International's campaign to Bring Mordechai Vanunu to London in June
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Did you know?



Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
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Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
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Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
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30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
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* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
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* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013
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Posts

It’s the armaments that make Israel strong. They think.

For some background to, and future of, these activities see Targeted killing: short-term gain in an endless war

This posting has 6 items:
1) Photo caption: Israel Defence exhibition;
2) Amira Hass, Haaretz: Never mind the settlements, it’s the absurdity;
3) Andrew Apostolou, Open Zion: The Not So Special U.S.-Israel Relationship;
4) Stop Arming Israel: End the arms trade with Israel!;
5) Disarm the Conflict: Profit from Israel’s Homeland Security experience;
6) Israel Homeland Security: The 2nd International Conference;


Logo for the annual Israel Defence exhibition, Tel Aviv.

The Israel Defence Exhibition (ISDEF) is a military and police tradeshow that takes place annually in Tel Aviv, Israel. ISDEF offers the best platform to create business opportunities between world leading manufactures and prospective clients in the Israeli Defense industry. ISDEF`s advantage is that it uses Israel`s reputation as a world leader in the fields of Defence and Homeland Security and collaborates with major decision makers. Being the only major international defense exhibition in Israel, ISDEF attracts top key players, political and government figures.’



Never mind the settlements, it’s the absurdity

We’ve reached the stage at which much more than labeling produce from the settlements will be needed to make us understand that military superiority isn’t a permanent guarantee of our existence in a region where we are a minority, but act like the lord and master.

By Amira Hass, Ha’aretz
October 31, 2012

Compared to the value of the security technology Israel sells overseas, the value of European imports from the settlements are mere pocket money. Israel’s economy won’t be hurt even if European governments adopt the measures proposed by a group of nongovernmental organizations in order to shrink trade with the settlements and reduce the contradiction between European pronouncements (“the settlements are illegal” ) and imported dates from the Jordan Valley [see EU’s role in sustaining illegal settlements]. Israeli governments will continue to compensate settlers for any “political” damage, and the Israeli people will continue to show no interest in yet another report written by the goyim.

The report, entitled “Trading away peace: How Europe helps sustain the illegal Israeli settlements,” was published yesterday by 22 aid, development and human rights organizations. It explains the reciprocal connection between the strangulation of the Palestinian economy under Israeli rule and the growth and well-being of the settlements. This need not upset the European consumer. Cheap clothing and computers from China and India entail no less exploitation – yet another reason for the Jewish Israeli citizen to feel good about himself as part of the world’s winning wing.

The flip side of every bunch of Jewish grapes from the Jordan Valley sold in Europe is an impoverished Palestinian family, because Israel has expropriated most of its land and also deprives it of water. That’s insufficient in a world rife with injustice? The report says something else to Europeans: Never mind the exploitation, but consider the absurdity!

As consumers, we Europeans pay for the grapes, and as taxpayers, we compensate the Palestinians for the water Israel steals to irrigate those same grapes. Europe is spending billions of euros for the sake of the Palestinian state-to-be, thereby essentially absolving Israel of the consequences of its economic strangulation policy. Perhaps this absurdity is easier to understand in today’s European Union, where one member state, Greece, has bowed to the pressure of its creditors and is denying public medical care to the unemployed.

As usual, a “former” official was found to say what those still in office fear to say, even in private. Hans van den Broek, a former EU commissioner for external relations, writes in the foreword to the report: “We Europeans have failed to move from words to action. So far, we have refrained from deploying our considerable political and economic leverage vis a vis Israel to contain developments on the ground that contradict our basic values and that undermine our strategic interests.” In other words, unlike many others, he thinks Europe can adopt an independent stance even if the United States continues to support the process of establishing Palestinian reservations.

From his mouth to God’s ears. But will reducing imports from the settlements be enough to make it clear to us Israelis that the regime we are supporting isn’t sustainable?

Here is an absurdity that Van den Broek and the report’s authors are forced to ignore (lest they be labeled anti-Semites ): It’s not just the settlers; the vast majority of Israelis support the concept of reservations for the Palestinians, whether actively (by voting ) or passively, by not resisting. They support it, and they benefit from it.

We’re hungry for normalcy, but it’s achieved by systematically undermining the dignity of the individual and the dignity of another people. We’ve reached the stage at which much more than labeling produce from the settlements will be needed to make us understand that military superiority isn’t a permanent guarantee of our existence in a region where we are a minority, but act like the lord and master.

So what next, after labeling? The European Union could, for instance, repeal the upgrade in trade relations with Israel. Or institute tourism equality: European states could demand that Israelis – and not only Palestinians – apply for entry visas, waste time at consulates and wait weeks (with the possibility of being turned down ). Only then might something, perhaps, begin to shake the artificial normality in which we live – before bloodshed does.



The Not So Special U.S.-Israel Relationship

By Andrew Apostolou, Open Zion
October 29, 2012

Don’t let the U.S. elections fool you, Israel is not that close a U.S. ally. The 34 mentions of Israel during the foreign policy debate confirmed that electoral rhetoric is a genre of fiction. The actual pattern of military, political, and intelligence ties between the two countries is rather less impressive.

President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney regularly make outlandish and misleading claims that portray the U.S.-Israel alignment as a special relationship. According to Obama “no ally is more important than the state of Israel.” Even more bizarrely, Obama says he is strengthening ties, which might be unnecessary as he also says bonds with Israel are “unbreakable.” Romney claims that ties are “deep and cherished.” This is also the party line of many American Jewish organizations and the applause line of most members of Congress.

U.S.-Israel ties are neither special nor familial. The two countries do each other numerous favors. The U.S. protects Israel at the UN. The Israelis reciprocate with unique intelligence assistance. Israel is better at the tricky business of gathering and analyzing secrets than the U.S. Similarly, Israeli companies sell the U.S. innovative defense equipment. At the same time, the U.S. is Israel’s largest arms supplier. Within its region, Israel is a useful U.S. ally.

From a global perspective that makes for a second-class relationship, one that is a rung lower than the U.S. alliances with the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The difference is that these countries and the U.S. share intelligence with each other in a remarkable and unprecedented arrangement that has been running since 1946. For all the speeches, the U.S. has no such ties with Israel—and nobody is suggesting them.

This is no surprise. The Israelis are wary of the extensive U.S. connections to Arab security services with which they are technically still at war. For their part, the Americans claim that Israel has been untrustworthy when in receipt of secret information (the UK has similar concerns). The impression of sloppiness with other people’s secrets has been reinforced by Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak’s public discussion of U.S. intelligence analyses of Iran—information that the U.S. shared with him in confidence.

Moreover, a critical part of the U.S. agreement with the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is that they are sworn never to spy on each other. The same cannot be said for Israel, which has conducted espionage against the U.S. more than once—a fact of which we are reminded by the campaign for clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

The second dampener on U.S.-Israel relations is that two’s company, but twenty-two is regional influence. The Israel focus of the debate obscures the longstanding U.S. ties to the Arab states. The U.S. supplies many of these countries with substantial quantities of weaponry, just like with Israel. This U.S. military link to the Arab states is routinely overlooked. The U.S. and some Arab states have conducted multiple joint combat operations—a rarity in U.S.-Israel military ties. Convenient though it is for both presidential candidates to forget Iraq, U.S. forces fought side by side with Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds in that country for eight years.

Similarly, for all the mythology about an influential, policy bending pro-Israel lobby, the U.S. has often accommodated its Arab allies. President George W. Bush, despite his initial disdain for the peace process, repeatedly sought to revive it, proclaiming the Road Map for Peace in 2003 and convening the Annapolis conference in 2007. Why does the U.S. listen to the Arab states? One reason is that providence, a concept favored by Mitt Romney, has handed the Arab countries over 40% of the world’s oil reserves.

So when Mitt Romney promises to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his pledge has the certainty of a roulette table. In office, Romney will be told by U.S. allies that transferring the embassy would prejudge negotiations on the final status of Jerusalem and compromise the U.S. position as the lead mediator.

Politicians like grand plans to change the direction of U.S. policy. After all, Obama was committed to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison. He signed the order less than two days into his term and specified that it be shut within a year. It remains open.

So ignore the hyperbole of the candidates and the hysteria of the partisan commentators. The U.S. is not going to abandon Israel, nor force the country into a peace settlement that it does not want, regardless of who takes office. The U.S.-Israel relationship is about practical politics, not romance.

Andrew Apostolou is a Middle East analyst based in Washington D.C.



End the arms trade with Israel!
By Stop Arming Israel

In July 2006, as Israel launched a horrendous attack on Southern Lebanon, various organisations and individual campaigners came together to launch Stop Arming Israel. The bombing and invasion of Gaza in the winter of 2008/9 has highlighted the UK’s complicity in arming Israel, both directly and through components in US-supplied weaponry.

The UK has consistently sold arms to Israel. The current policy was “clarified” in a letter dated 10 February 2011 from the Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt, which says: “I can confirm that UK policy on the export of controlled goods and equipment to Israel has not changed since the Coalition Government took office. All export licence applications to Israel are considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria.” However, this says nothing – the real issue is how the criteria are interpreted. Despite the UN stating that Israel “violates humanitarian law”, and even though the criteria are supposed to assess the impact on regional peace, security and stability and the human rights record of the recipient, the sales continue.

Components matter
In addition to the military equipment being supplied directly from the UK, there are also components that go into US-built equipment destined for Israel. In July 2002, the UK government approved the export of components for F-16 fighters being made by the US company Lockheed Martin and sold to Israel. Then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw justified the sales saying: “The Government has judged that the UK’s security and defence relationship with the US is fundamental to the UK’s national security … Defence collaboration with the US is also key to maintaining a strong defence industrial capacity.” He went on “Any interruption to the supply of these components would have serious implications for the UK’s defence relations with the United States.” In other words, the commercial relationship between BAE Systems and US companies such as Lockheed Martin was judged more important than the lives of Palestinians.

Israel has used F-16 fighter aircraft and Apache combat helicopters to bomb Lebanese and Palestinian towns and villages. These have contained UK manufactured components including missile triggering systems for Apaches and Head-Up Displays for F-16s.

More information on UK companies known to have supplied military equipment to Israel.

Equipment used in Gaza contained UK-supplied components
In a Ministerial Statement on 21 April 2009, then Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband admitted that Israeli equipment used in Gaza “almost certainly” contained UK-supplied components. He cited F16 combat aircraft, Apache attack helicopters, Saar-Class corvettes and armoured personnel carriers. The following day, quizzed by the Commons’ Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC), junior Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said no licences for components for the F16s, helicopters or armoured personnel carriers had been approved since the war on the Lebanon in 2006. On 13 July 2009 the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that licences for parts for the Saar corvettes had been revoked. The UK embassy in Israel confirmed this had been done following the then Foreign Secretary’s statement.

Israel’s own arms industry and the two-way links
Israel’s military sector is made up of over 200 public and private companies, dominated by three state-owned ones: Israel Aircraft Industries (Israel’s biggest employer outside government), Israel Military Industries and Rafael. Private company Elbit Systems is also significant.

The UK spends millions of pounds each year on ‘battle-tested’ arms from Israeli companies. One growing link is in the area of unmanned aerial vehicles, sometimes known as drones. More information about this can be found here.

Another area of concern is the links between the European Union and Israel over security equipment.

Stop Arms Sales to and from Israel
Because Israel is now such a major exporter as well as importer of arms, CAAT is calling for an embargo on the sale of all UK equipment to and purchases from Israel as well as the breaking off of all military contacts. This would send a strong message to the Israeli government that its actions are totally unacceptable.

Campaign Postcards
A double campaign postcard is available from Stop Arming Israel. One card is for people to send to their MP, the other is either for them to keep as a reference or to send back to us for more information.

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About the Campaign
Stop Arming Israel was set up in July 2006 to campaign for an end the UK arms trade with Israel. The campaign is co-ordinated by:

Campaign Against Arms Trade
CAAT was set up in 1974 and is a broad coalition of groups and individuals working for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade, together with progressive demilitarisation within arms-producing countries.

War on Want
War on Want fights poverty in developing countries in partnership and solidarity with people affected by globalisation. They campaign for workers’ rights and against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Founded in 1982, PSC is the UK’s foremost campaigning organisation dedicated to Palestinian rights. They are an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with branches around the country.

Stop Arming Israel was founded with the active participation of theIsraeli Committee Against House Demolitions (UK), the Radical Activist NetworkVoices in the Wilderness and individual activists from the anti-war movement.

Supporters of our call for a two-way arms embargo on Israel include the Green Party of England and Wales, the GMB Union, Pax Christi, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, London region CND, Lewes and District CND and Waltham Forest Trades Council.
Stop Arming Israel, c/o 11 Goodwin Street, London N4 3HQ



Profit from Israel’s Homeland Security experience

By disarmtheconflict
October 18, 2012

From 11 to 14 November the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute is organising the 2nd Homeland Security Conference in Tel Aviv [see below]. Homeland security is the term used for -often highly militarised- protection against internal threats like terrorism. For the HSC in Tel Aviv, governments and community decision makers from all over the world are strongly invited to participate because, according to the chair of the organising institute: “We live in an age of terror” and “Israel has long experience with terror (…) and expertise acquired over decades of combating internal security and terror threats”. This experience is reflected in the close collaboration between the military and the arms and security industry, where half of the senior employees have a military background. Although other countries also know the phenomenon of the ‘revolving door’ the high level of connection is unique for Israel.

Homeland security is a booming business. According to US government estimates, more than 4000 Israeli companies were exporting security related products in 2007, with a value of $1.2 billion. It is predicted that the global homeland security markets will be growing fast over the next years – from a sum total of $140 billion in 2008, to approximately $254 billion in 2018 and with Israel in the forefront of the technology and tactics, its export volume might increase rapidly.

The Homeland Security Conference will be accompanied by a exhibition where companies of Israel’s homeland security industry will show their “solution areas”. Apart from the big arms companies Elbit and IAI there is a long list of 54 exhibitors which announces companies such as BlueBird Aero systems, a company which offers combat proven Unmanned Areal Systems or drones. BlueBird is helping us prepare for the worst: Its drones are suitable for hazardous areas like earthquake areas or areas subjected to atomic, biological and chemical attacks. And all this the company offers cost-effectively.

Another company offering its services is the Israel Prison Service, the national detention organization of the State of Israel. One can wonder what special services or experience this company will have to offer to the international delegations.

Or ISPRA, global leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing of non lethal devices for riot control, crowd management, anti terror equipment and police gear. ISPRA advertises that it combines technical know-how and practical field experience with a broad range of tear gasses, smoke grenades, launchers and ammunitions and police personal gear such as tactical assault vests. ISPRA also offers consultancy for the best security solutions, again cost-effective, based on operational experience in the governmental as well as the private sectors. Who wants to be advised by experienced controllers of Palestinian ‘riots’ and ‘terrorists’ should definitely visit the HSC.

It would be interesting to know which countries do send delegations to this Homeland Security export show of Israeli repression techniques and technology. The first HSC in 2010 was visited by many government representatives from abroad, including, among others, the ministers of internal security of Italy and Panama. Some countries sent particularly large delegations, including Brazil, whose delegation included 80 people.



The 2nd International Conference
By HLS, Israel Homeland Security
October 2012

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the 2ND International Conference on Homeland Security, to be held November 11-14, 2012, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Initiated by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Home Front Defense, the Israel Police, Ashdod Port Company, the Israel Ports Company and the Israel Trade Fairs Center, Israel HLS 2012 will include lectures, seminars and panel discussions, and an exhibition showcasing some of the finest field-proven and next-generation technologies and systems in the industry. As well, there will be lots of opportunity to greet colleagues and create new business relationships through formal and informal meetings.

Israel HLS 2012 should be attended by all public decision makers, security professionals and HLS industry managers with an interest in:
 Cyber Security
 Securing Smart Cities
 Critical Infrastructure Protection
 Emergency Management and Preparedness

Our previous HLS conference, held in 2010, attracted more than 500 security officials from around the world, including public security ministers, senior government and municipal officials, emergency response and port authorities, police commanders and HLS industry managers. They heard and met with security experts and industry leaders discuss today’s challenges in the light of growing global terror, criminal activity, threats to public order and natural disasters.

Of particular note, a full half-day on November 14 has been dedicated to on-site technology demonstrations at Israel’s busiest seaport, the Port of Ashdod, located on the Mediterranean Sea a half-hour south of Tel Aviv, to be followed by a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City. Both tours are by advance registration only.
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Israel HLS 2012 is a closed event, taking place at The Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center Tel Aviv. Open only to government officials and HLS industry managers.


See also Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Israel

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