BNC – This year the Latin America Aero & Defense trade show will be held in Rio de Janeiro from April 14 – 17. The show will host and promote the world’s most renowned merchants and producers of war, repression, torture and mass murder. Israeli war criminals feature prominently among them. Nearly every major state and private Israeli military firm will be represented, in addition to the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Among those listed as attending are Elbit Systems Group, Rafael, Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI), and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Ltd. The firms are key enablers of the decades long war against the Palestinians, benefiting not only from the consumption of weapons and ammunition by the Israeli military, but also from the use of West Bank and Gaza Strip as testing grounds for new military equipment and technology.
IMI is a government owned firm that manufactures the armored plating for the Caterpillar D-9 Bulldozer, used almost exclusively for the demolition of Palestinian homes, while IWI is the primary developer and supplier of light arms to the Occupation infantry forces. Rafael, another government firm, is a key supplier of missiles, targeting systems, and technology for Occupation tanks. Elbit Systems, is one of one of Israel”s largest private military technology firms, is responsible for the segments of the Apartheid Wall around Jerusalem and the Ariel settlement as well as for supplying the Occupation military, navy and air force with a variety of equipment, including drones (UAVs).
Hosting these firms and the Israeli war ministry is especially outrageous after the massacres in Gaza, where they directed and supplied the war effort. Drones provided by the above companies, for example, were directly responsible for the killing of nearly 100 people during the most recent attacks. To cite only one of scores of atrocities committed in Gaza, on January 3 a drone fired a missile at Palestinians praying at Martyr Ibrahim al-Maqadma Mosque in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, killing 15 and injuring 30. More than 1,450 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, and it is intolerable that these war criminals be allowed to profit in Brazil.
The trade show as a whole, attracting industry stalwarts Blackwater USA in addition to dozens of other l firms who thrive on ongoing war, conflict and occupation, should have no place in Brazil. However, as Palestinian National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Committee (BNC), we ask the Brazilian people and its governmental representatives to stop at least the participation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and arms industry.
A full-scale arms embargo on Israel is overdue. It can stop the world’s most long standing occupation and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.