Hundreds of people have come out in support of the people on trial for taking action at the DSEi arms fair. Below is an open letter from groups in Palestine in solidarity with the actions taken:
A group of activists (mainly women) are currently on trial for being arrested when they were peacefully trying to blockade the world’s largest arms fair (DSEi) which takes place every two years in London. But, who really should be held accountable?
This year, DSEi arms fair hosted arms companies from more than 50 countries, with around 1500 exhibitors were registered, selling arms, missiles, fighter aircrafts , tanks, military electronics and warships, as well as surveillance and riot control equipment, just to mention but some examples of its widely destructive portfolio. Around 30,000 buyers and sellers are from countries of appallingly oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, Israel, Mexico and Colombia.
The DSEi arms fair includes most of the world’s largest arms companies which profit from the wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Israel, for instance, is a prominent exhibitor of their military technology during the arms fair and its economy has a huge reliance on arms dealing which gives it a stunning ascent through the international rankings in weapon industry and trade.
But, how and where does Israel develop its hi-tech military industries? Simply, the Israeli army has been testing its new innovative armaments on our bodies, i.e. on the more than four million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
We, the 1.7 million Palestinians in besieged Gaza, have been suffering a severe blockade on our land, air and sea borders as well as bombings and attacks by the horrifyingly military system of the Israeli apartheid regime.
We have been collectively punished in what major Human Rights Organizations call “the world’s largest open air prison”, meaning that we are trapped in one of the most densely populated areas on earth denied the limited and basic standards of human rights with limited hours of electricity, lack of fuel, gas, medicine, food, building instruction, restricted freedom of movement, unclean water, etc.
The civilian population in Gaza, in particular, has become the shop window for Israel’s military industries, allowing them to develop and market systems for long-term surveillance, drones and weaponry. For example, the biggest surge in sales followed Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 22-day long massacre/war on Gaza in winter 2008-2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and thousands more are still maimed. Record sales in the wake of that attack reached $6 billion.
Such military operations, including the most recent against Gaza, last year’s Pillar of Cloud, have helped to guide the Israeli army and companies in developing new military techniques and arsenals.
We salute the courage of all those who have organized and took part in the week of actions against the DSEi arms fair, and strongly support the human rights defenders, anti-militarists activists who were arrested for actions against the DSEI arms fair, and with comrades all over the world fighting for equal rights.
The activists being charged for trying to stop such arms fair’s deadly business should be honored and followed up not convicted. We, from the Gaza Ghetto, call on you to immediately discharge those activists who just fight against profiting from war and destruction.
The time is now to stop developing theories of death!
We stand in solidarity with you for justice and peace.
Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Gaza University Teacher Association
One Democratic State Group(ODSG)
Ayah Abubasheer, member of the Gaza-based group for Boycott Divestment Sanctions of Israel