In the framework of the programme to re-equip its army, France will take a decision by the end of 2015 on which model of drone it intends to purchase. In this arms race, we are glad to note that at least one Israeli corporation has already been excluded: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). However, we are demanding via a petition (1) that the Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems also be excluded from the bidding.
The BDS France campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions against Israel until it respects international law and the universal principles of human rights) is concerned about another drone competing in the bid: the Watchkeeper developed by Thalès (UK). This drone functions with technology developed by Elbit Systems for the Hermes 450, one of the drones favoured by the Israeli army for use against the Palestinian population in general, and that of Gaza in particular.
Let us not forget that in Gaza in July-August 2014 Israel assassinated more than 2,200 Palestinians of whom 550 were children (United Nations figures). This massacre, distinguished as a war crime according to the norms of international law, was made possible by the use of drones manufactured by Elbit Systems.
Elbit Systems, which uses the Palestinian population as laboratory animals in order to test its weapons, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, also manufactures White Phosphorus (2), an appalling chemical weapon used against the civilian population in Gaza. It also participates directly in the construction of the illegal wall in the West Bank.
In the context of the international campaign initiated by Palestinian civil society for a military embargo against the State of Israel, Elbit has been the target of an international campaign (in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom…) due to its direct involvement in the oppression of the Palestinian people. (3) In August 2014, a protest by British activists led to the temporary closing-down of the factory of the company manufacturing the Watchkeeper drone. (4)
Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories, called for the boycott of Elbit Systems in a report to the United Nations General Assembly. (5)
States, including France in line with its European and international commitments, have the obligation to guarantee that Israel, like any other State, complies with international law. We are asking the French government not to make French taxpayers complicit in France's failure to meet its commitments, nor in its de facto support for an Israeli military industry in the service of colonial, murderous and illegal policies.
BDS France Campaign