Protesters in die-in at Dutch airport
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Protesters in die-in at Dutch airport

On 16th August fifty protesters staged a “die-in” at Schiphol Plaza, the main entrance of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, to demand an end to the transit of US arms through the Netherlands to the Occupation. The “die-in” symbolized the more than 1,000 casualties of the Israeli war on Lebanon and more than 150 casualties of the Israeli war on Gaza. The action was supported by the Dutch Socialist Party, the Green Left, Campagne tegen Wapenhandel, the Dutch Palestine Committee, the Hague Peace Platform, the Palestinian Community in the Netherlands, Internationale Socialisten, Stop the Occupation and the Stop the War Coalition.

At the action Members of Parliament Krista van Velzen of the Socialist Party and Ineke van Gent of the Dutch Green Left condemned the bombardment targeting civilians and Dutch government hypocrisy in allowing the transit of arms via Schiphol Airport. Participants called for sanctions against Apartheid Israel and demanded that the Dutch government as well as the board of directors of Schiphol Airport end all arms transfers to the Zionist regime.

The Dutch government has officially confirmed 23 flights containing large quantities of weapons and ammunition stopped at Schipol in transit from the US to the Occupation. In a written government answer to Green Left party MP Farah Karimi it was also confirmed there were 76 arms transfer flights in 2005. The government explained that it “does not give any licenses for weapon exports to Israel; because of the human rights situation, internal tensions and the stability in the region”, thus revealing its hypocrisy in allowing arms transports to the Occupation. The protesters demand a consistent policy that does not allow the export or transit of arms to Apartheid Israel due to its human rights violations.

In a large number of countries all over the world – from India to Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Spain etc. – campaigns are underway to block military cooperation with the Israeli apartheid regime. In the UK especially, protesters have been staging a series of protests lately. Demonstrations took place at the civilian Prestwick airport in Scotland where planes with arms transfers from the US to Israel stopped to refuel including one action where protesters managed to evade security and board a plane. These arms flights were then transferred to RAF bases Brize Norton and Mildenhall in England which are both used by the USAF. On August 12th RAF Brize Norton was blockaded and closed for 2 hours in a protest at the main gates. Peace camps were set up at both bases to watch for further arms transfers.

Governments which allow their territory to be used for the transfer of arms to the Occupation facilitate war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine. Arms trade, military cooperation and research and development projects also constitute a central part of the Zionist war economy. A complete military embargo is thus not only a moral and legal imperative to avoid complicity with war crimes but also a powerful tool to effectively put pressure on Apartheid Israel.