Boycott and oppose Elbit company

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynon

The Palestinian people will commemorate on May 15 the 74th year of Nakba or the Catastrophe in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were violently expelled from their land to clear the way for establishing the state of Israel. Since then, Israel’s brutal occupation and genocide against the Palestinian people have grown worse despite international agreements protecting their most basic rights.

Israel’s attacks include building a wall in 2002 to drive away Palestinians inside the West Bank and Jerusalem.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice declared the West Bank wall as illegal. It obliged all governments adhering to the Fourth Geneva Convention to “ensure Israel’s compliance” with international humanitarian law. It forbade governments from providing any assistance that “could maintain the situation created by the wall.”

It was in this context that in 2005, the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement was initiated against Israel and companies supporting its violent occupation. One of its major campaigns is Divest Elbit Systems. In this campaign, Palestinians and their supporters in various countries demanded tha companies, institutions, and governments withdraw their investments from Elbit Systems and stop buying its weapons and military technology.

Since 2009, this movement has successfully forced large banks and institutions to divest from the company.

Why Elbit Systems?

Despite the ICJ ruling, Israel continued to build walls to evict Palestinians from their lands. In 2013, it built a wall along the border of Golan Heights and Syria. In 2017, it fenced off the Gaza Strip effectively imprisoning millions of Palestinians in what has been called the “largest open prison inthe world.” Israel equipped this fence with high towers, checkpoints, and a strict surveillance system. It is constantly monitored by soldiers and militarytechnology.

The construction and maintenance of these walls have primarily benefitted the Elbit Systems which supplies technology for sophisticated monitoring such as image recognition and biometrics and maintains extensive and intrusivedatabases. It has developed armed robots that patrol the ground and drones in the air.

Elbit Systems Ltd is Israel’s largest military company. In 2021, the Transnational Institute listed it among 23 international companies profiting from human rights abuses of migrants and refugees around the world.

It is best known for creating electronic military equipment and surveillance systems, mainly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. It employs 12,700 workers in Israel and manages a comprehensive global network of more than 80 subsidiaries and related corporations. It has a US-based special division of unmanned aerial system that developed the Hermes 450 as an attack drone. This drone has been used by the Israel Defense Force to repeatedly bomb Palestinian territories, specifically Gaza.

Elbit in the Philippines

Prodded by the US, the Philippine government has patronized weapons and technology from Israel and the Elbit Systems. The equipment and military vehicles it buys from Elbit are all used in the regime’s brutal counterinsurgency war which wreck the lives and livelihoods of the people, the forest, and the environment.

In 2019, the Department of Defense signed contracts for “several hundreds” of small UAVs, as well as medium-sized ones such as the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900.  These are all flown are flown prior to a bombing spree in the countryside.

In 2021, Elbit-manufactured weapons flooded the country. Among these are the M113A2 81mm Armored Mortar Carrier, 28 Iveco VBTP-MP Guarani APC, Remote Controlled Weapon Station, and 12 Soltam ATMOS 155mm/52cal self-propelled howitzers.

Just last April 21, the Philippine Army reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion in preparation for the arrival this year of 18 Sabrah light tanks and 10 Sabrah 8×8 wheeled light tanks which were ordered from Elbit. The purchase contract is worth $172 million.

Boycott and oppose Elbit company