Desmond Tutu backs arms embargo on Israel http://www.qodsna.com/NewsContent-id_39443.aspx
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has backed calls for an arms embargo against Israel made by a coalition of Palestinian groups on July 9. A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue, reads the statement by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), a broad coalition of Palestinian political parties, trade unions, activist groups and NGOs. It continues, It would constitute an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law.
I endorse this call for an arms embargo because we desire peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis through non-violent ways, said Tutu. The 79-year old former Archbishop gained prominence for his role in fighting apartheid in South Africa. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was first launched on July 9, 2005 with the signatory of 170 Palestinian organizations. However this latest call has focused on an arms embargo on Israel and not a general trade boycott.
Israel is a significant player in the global arms trade. In 2008 its total arms imports were $524 million while its total arms exports were $410 million, according to statistics website Gapminder.org. F-16 combat aircrafts, Apache helicopters and Merkava tanks are among equipment imported and controversially deployed in the Occupied Territories and the recent wars in Gaza and Lebanon.
Many components for these are supplied by UK companies like BAE Systems, Smiths Group and MeggitAvionics according to Campaign against Arms Trade (CAAT). Israel’s own arms industry consists of 200 public and private companies like Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. They sell battle-tested weapons technology to many countries including the UK and regularly exhibit at trade fairs.