Democratic Union: We’ll ban arms sales to human rights abusers

Israel has controversially sold arms to Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon and the Philippines in recent years, all of which have been accused of human rights violations.

September 18, 2019 01:01
2 minute read.
MK MASOUD GNAIM (center) participates in a protest against the killing of his Rohingya Muslim ‘broth

MK MASOUD GNAIM (center) participates in a protest against the killing of his Rohingya Muslim ‘brothers’ in Myanmar, outside the country’s embassy in Tel Aviv, September 11, 2017.. (photo credit: UNITED ARAB LIST)

The Democratic Union Party has committed to the banning of Israeli arms sales to regimes which commit atrocities and otherwise abuse human rights.

Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz has also made comments in recent days stating that his party would also ban weapons sales to regimes which carry out massacres.

Democratic Union candidate Yael Cohen-Paran said in a statement to activists that the party was committed to this policy.

“We in the Democratic Union are committed to the issue of restricting the sale of weapons from Israel to states that violate human rights,” she said.

“We will protect Israeli democracy and deal with this strategic failure: that Israel sells weapons to states that commit genocide,” continued Cohen-Paran.

In recent years, Israel has sold arms to Myanmar, which has ethnically cleansed Rohingya minority; sold guns to South Sudan, which is engaged in a bloody civil war; sold armored vehicles to Cameroon, which has committed atrocities in separatist regions; and sold rifles and other firearms to the Philippines, which has engaged in extrajudicial killings and heavy-handed tactics in its brutal crackdown on the drug trade and drug users.

In a recent meeting between Peretz and Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former cabinet minister and MK for the Meimad Party, the Labor leader also committed to banning arms sales to such regimes.

“We will not sell weapons to any dark organization… or to any official regime of a state that we can see has carried out murder and massacres,” Peretz said in the meeting, which was designed to gain the endorsement of Melchior and the backing of his supporters.

The Joint List of Arab Parties has also backed banning Israeli arms sales to regimes that violate human rights.

Joint List MK Ofer Cassif told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that he submitted legislation to the Knesset which would ban such weapons sales, as well as the sale of spying software and agreements to train the armies of regimes with poor human rights records.

Cassif said that all four parties of the Joint List support this legislation.

These commitments come following a concerted campaign by activists on the issue, which recently garnered the support of a diverse array of public figures from across the political, ethnic and religious spectrum.

Avidan Freedman, a leading activist in the campaign, welcomed the commitments by the Democratic Union, Peretz and the Joint List, but said he was disappointed that Blue and White has not made similar commitments.

“We’re very glad that the Labor Party, the Democratic Union and the Joint list have all publicly committed to advancing legislation to stop Israeli weapons sales to murderous regimes in response to our #passthetest campaign,” said Freedman.

“And we have seen this commitment as a deciding question for wavering voters. We call on all parties to do the same, so that their voters can be confident their vote won’t go to a party that allows this moral stain on our country to continue… Where is Blue and White’s commitment? Numerous prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist movement have expressed the urgency of this issue. Where is Yamina’s commitment?”

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