Block the Boat: End maritime arms transfer to Israel (Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC))

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Block the Boat: End maritime arms transfer to Israel

May 22, 2024

 / By 

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)


Palestinian civil society urgently calls on governments to stop ships carrying weapons to Israel’s #GazaGenocide

Ships are currently crossing the Mediterranean, through the Straight of Gibraltar, carrying arms for Israel to commit its genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. The continuous supply of arms via the maritime route has enabled Israel to continue with its unspeakable atrocities in Gaza and escalate its attacks and killings against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Thanks to recent civil society mobilizations in Spain, including awareness raising and protests led by our partner RESCOP, a ship very likely carrying weapons bound for Israel avoided docking in Cartagena, thus escaping being searched. The ship is expected to arrive today in Koper, Slovenia, where activists are demanding that it be searched and any arms to Israel be stopped.

A second ship, the Marianne Danica, has been denied port of call by the Spanish authorities on the grounds that it is carrying weapons to Israel and is now on its way to Montenegro, expected to arrive there on May 28th in the morning. 

Other vessels suspected of carrying weapons will soon be entering the Mediterranean.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest Palestinian coalition leading the global BDS movement, calls on activists, trade unions, and civil society groups to pressure parliamentarians, governments and companies to heed their legal and moral duty to stop the arms shipments to Israel now. 

Over 810 million Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah had to flee once again as Israel carried out its bloody invasion. UNRWA has been forced to suspend all aid distribution, intensifying famine conditions. In the north of Gaza, Israel has attacked one of the last operating hospitals, the Kamal Adwan Hospital. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has finally requested arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant  with charges of “persecution”, “extermination and/or murder contrary to articles 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(a), including in the context of deaths caused by starvation, as a crime against humanity”.

Despite these atrocities, western governments have continued supplying arms to Israel’s genocide. 

Dozens of UN human rights experts have argued the legal obligation of all states to stop military relations with Israel and the UN Human Rights Council directly called for an end to “the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, the occupying Power…to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”. Weapons transfers to Israel violate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and several other international treaties. All signatories of the Genocide Convention have the duty to prevent, end and punish violations of the Convention, and states and corporations are under the obligation to stop commercial and military ties with genocide. This includes refraining from supplying arms and military equipment to any state suspected of committing genocidal acts.  

For 76 years, Israel has used the weapons and military technology supplied to it by the West and others to perpetrate war crimes, and crimes against humanity, including apartheid and now genocide, to advance its settler-colonial project aimed at eliminating us from our land. 

Impunity and complicity have to end now! 

We therefore call for mobilizations and pressure on governments to:

  • stop and search all vessels suspected of carrying arms destined for Israel once they enter their territorial waters and ensure the transfer of these weapons is stopped. At the very least, bar the ships from docking and offshore customs operations.
  • prohibit any vessel carrying weapons to Israel from flying their flag and immediately investigate and withdraw their flag whenever suspicions of arms shipments arise. 
  • hold accountable any shipping and insurance companies that contribute to Israel’s capacity to continue its genocide and apartheid against the Palestinian people, especially by transporting and insuring arms transfers. 

We call for protests and divestment pressure against all maritime transport corporations and insurance companies involved in the arms trade with Israel. 

We call on trade unions, especially dock workers and transport workers, to join the global BDS movement and to refuse to be part of the illegal and immoral arms transfer and refuse handling the arms. 

Every blocked shipment saves Palestinian lives. 

#Blocktheboat #MilitaryEmbargo

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