Campaigners in Cornwall, including those from Kernow Palestine Solidarity and Cornwall Resists, will take to the streets of Falmouth to stand in solidarity with Palestine on Sunday 22nd October. The protest is gathering on The Moor at 4 p.m. and comes after around 150 held a similar gathering last week.
The groups are highlighting the deadly and catastrophic situation Israel is currently inflicting on Gaza and are demanding that the UK ends arms exports to the Israeli government.
Since 2015, the Conservative government has licensed £472 million of military equipment to Israel. But this figure is just scratching the surface. It doesn’t include open licenses that lack transparency and allow companies to export the specified items as much as they want without scrutiny or reporting.
One of these open licenses is for components for the F35 combat aircraft that are currently raining hell on Gaza. 15% of every F35 is made by UK industry. Campaign Against Arms Trade estimates that UK companies, such as BAE Systems, have made an estimated £336 million since 2016 for components for these fighters. Following the current escalation of the conflict, BAE Systems’ share prices reached a record high.
A spokesperson for Kernow Palestine Solidarity stated:
“The situation in Gaza is catastrophic. Israeli airstrikes have killed thousands, injured thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. Gaza is under siege. Food, water, fuel and medical supplies are running out. The Israeli government is committing war crimes, with the full backing of our prime minister, and Palestinians are facing unimaginable suffering. While the attacks by Hamas were horrific, they do not justify Israel’s response.
“Israel gets away with acting with impunity because our government, other Western governments, and our mainstream media refuse to hold it to account. Our government is endorsing a massacre in Gaza, not just with its words, but with its actions.
“The UK government and the UK arms trade is complicit in the war crimes taking place in Gaza. But we won’t be complicit and will let Palestinian people know we stand in solidarity with them.”
A spokesperson for Cornwall Resists stated:
“The only people who are profiting from the conflict are arms dealers. BAE Systems share prices have reached a record high. Widespread slaughter of civilians is good business if you’re an arms dealer. Our government and the UK arms trade is drenched in the blood of Palestinians.
“It’s easy to feel powerless. But we have power. There are arms factories and offices across the country, and we can, and we must, take action to hold these companies to account.”
- Information regarding the use of F35s in the bombardment of Gaza – Configuration And Payload Of The Aircraft Employed By Israel In The Fight Against Hamas – The Aviationist
- From Campaign Against Arms Trade – according to the SIPRI Arms Transfer Database, Israel has ordered a total of 50 F-35s from the US, of which 36 have so far been delivered, up to the end of 2022. According to the detailed delivery database,114 a total of 6 were delivered in 2022. While the value of UK companies’ F-35 contracts with the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, is not known, based on the 15% workshare and the estimated $80m a plane unit cost of the F-35, this would suggest that each aircraft involves around $12 million to UK industry. This would imply a value of $72 million (£58m) for total UK deliveries of F-35s to Israel in 2022, far higher than the value of Single Issue Export Licences, and around $432 million (approx. £336m.) since deliveries began in 2016.
- For more information on UK arms sales to Israel see CAAT – Annual Report: UK Arms Exports in 2022 and CAAT – Israel
- BAE Systems share prices reach record high – 13/10/23 – BAE shares just hit a record high! Buy, sell, or hold? (yahoo.com)
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