SIR – G4S, the British-Danish security conglomerate, has announced that it will sell its Israeli subsidiary, responsible for providing security equipment, control rooms, and surveillance devices for Israeli prisons, checkpoints, police training centres and military compounds that play a critical role in the imprisonment, oppression and colonisation of Palestine and Palestinians.
The announcement is a clear recognition of the growing strength and power of the international BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement targeting G4S in response to calls from Palestinian prisoners and civil society organisations.
This announcement comes following the loss of millions of dollars through boycotts – including contracts in Colombia and Jordan in recent weeks alone – and divestments, including that of the Gates Foundation’s million stake in the company, after sustained international BDS campaigns highlighting G4S’s role in the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
As we commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising and the subsequent fight for our freedom, it is sad to realise that Ireland plays its part in supporting the Israeli state in its unlawful military occupation of Palestine. Ireland has bought €14.7m worth of arms and military components from Israel over the last decade, while Irish-based companies have exported €6.42m worth of military and ‘dual use’ hardware to Israel since 2011.
Meanwhile, Israel has killed over 9,000 Palestinians, including 2,060 children, since 2000. Military items exported from Israel will have used Palestinians as ‘human test subjects’ so such weapons can be marketed as ‘battle-proven.’ Any military components exported to Israel will be used to kill and maim yet more Palestinians and to entrench the decades-long military occupation.
Neither Israel nor arms manufacturers in Ireland should be allowed to profit from the killing of Palestinians; this trade in death must end. In our period of historic reflection, we should call upon the government of Ireland to end the Irish arms trade with Israel, and to advocate for an international arms embargo at EU and UN levels until Israel ends the occupation of Palestinian land and complies fully with its
obligations under international law.