Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release

11 Mar 2010
IPSC Letter to TDs re: Irish Defence Forces Arms Purchases From Israel

Say No to Irish Defence Forces Purchase of Israeli Bullets

The recent revelation that the Irish Government is considering purchasing millions of euros worth of bullets from Israel Military Industries is deeply shocking.

We find it completely inappropriate that the Irish State would purchase weapons from a company that is intimately linked to the Israeli armed forces and one that supplies the means by which the war crimes documented by the Goldstone Report can be committed. Furthermore, we feel that at a time when Israel is facing unprecedented criticism for its continued defiance of international law, such a purchase of arms would send entirely the wrong message to the Israeli state and the international community.

We call on the Irish Government to reconsider the possible granting of a contract by the Irish Defence Forces to Israel Military Industries.

Sign the Petition here

Join the Facebook Group here

Read the Sunday Independent article here

Read the IPSC's letter to TD's on the matter here (you can use this as a basis to write a similar letter to your local TDs)

IPSC Letter to TDs re: Irish Defence Forces Arms Purchases From Israel

11th March 2010

Dear Deputy,

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign wish to inform you that we have written to the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs to ask them to reconsider the possible granting of a contract by the Defence Forces to an Israeli arms company. At a time when Israel is facing unprecedented criticism for its defiance of international law, the purchase of bullets from Israel Military Industries would send entirely the wrong message to the Israeli state.

The Irish government joined with the overwhelming majority of UN member-states in endorsing the findings of the Goldstone Report. The report documented systematic abuse of human rights by the Israeli army during the military assault on Gaza in 2009, and demanded credible investigation of alleged war crimes. The current Israeli government has declared its intention to prevent any such investigation from taking place. Furthermore, on Tuesday, 9 March the Israeli State once again exposed its attitude towards international law and meaningful peace talks when it announced the building of 1,600 apartments in an illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem on the eve of a new round of US-mediated negotiations.

Israel has recently added to its reputation as an outlaw state with no regard for international opinion by making use of fake Irish passports – along with the passports of other western states – in order to assassinate a Palestinian official. The official refusal of its foreign ministry to confirm involvement has been universally ignored in Israel itself, where politicians and media commentators have rushed to congratulate the nation’s secret service for its “daring” operation in Dubai. This abuse of the Irish passport to carry out a murder has compromised the safety of any Irish citizen who travels in the Middle East.

Against this background, it would be completely inappropriate for the Irish government to divert public funds into the coffers of the Israeli war industry. Recently in the Dail, when questioned about the disgraceful €2.37m Elbit Systems contract award (Elbit being an Israeli firm blacklisted by some European investment funds for their involvement in the military aspects of the Occupation regime), the previous Minister for Defence stated that the Department of Defence "is obliged to deal impartially with all companies that are entitled to enter its procurement competitions and must evaluate tenders on the basis of objective criteria set out in the tender documentation". However this is not correct as the EDA Code of Conduct on Defence Procurement is explicitly a "voluntary, non-binding agreement" which involves "no legal commitment", and states that "in all cases, the final authority for contract award remains with [member states'] national authorities". Furthermore, the Code is an agreement between EU member states, not including Israel, with the declared aim of maximizing opportunities for "suppliers based on each others' territories". On no interpretation can this agreement be presented as compelling Ireland to open its procurement competitions to any Israeli arms company. Companies excluded from the outset incur no costs in tendering, and thus have no legal cause of action.

While the IPSC calls for the general boycott of Israeli goods, we accept that there are differences of opinion as to whether this policy should be adopted by the Irish state in its trade relations. However, there can be no serious debate about whether it is appropriate to purchase weapons from companies that are intimately linked to the Israeli armed forces and that supply the means by which the war crimes documented by the Goldstone Report can be committed.

We ask you to communicate these points to An Taoiseach (as acting Minister for Defence), as well as Minister Michael Martin, and to ask them to ensure that we as a nation do not commit the terrible mistake of financially supporting a company so intimately linked to the Israeli armed forces.

Yours sincerely,

 

David Landy
Chair
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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