German-owned container ship with US munitions en route to Israel

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=558

Amnesty has learnt that a German owned cargo ship, the Wehr Elbe, carrying huge amounts of weaponry from the U.S – possibly including controversial white phosphorous – has been heading for the Israeli port of Ashdod. There are news reports that the ship has been suspended after pressure from Amnesty International. At the time of writing the status of the shipment is unclear, but its deadly cargo remains on board. We must maintain pressure to prevent the arms from being unloaded and used to fuel the conflict in Gaza. More munitions will only fuel further military aggression in Gaza. For the sake of civilians in Gaza and Israel, we need to prevent this deadly shipment from reaching its final destination. Please take immediate action to stop current arms shipments en route to the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza and agree a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups to help ensure that weapons will not be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law. I am deeply concerned to learn that a German-owned container ship the Wehr Elbe, is currently transporting some 989 containers worth of US munitions en route to Israel. It was heading to the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza but at the time of writing its status is unclear. The weapons are still on the ship and they must not be allowed to be unloaded for use in the deadly conflict in Gaza. This vast consignment of weapons could be delivered at any time in the next few days. A further consignment of an additional 325 containers of weapons, likely to include White Phosphorous, was due to be shipped from Askatos in Greece to Israel. This ship was last spotted off the port of Askatos on 12th January 2009. I urge to you take all possible diplomatic measures to stop these and pending and future shipments to any of the parties to this current conflict . I am also concerned about recent reports that UK arms components may be used in military equipment used by the Israeli armed forces. Specifically, it would appear that a UK company may have provided engines for Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs). Such pilot-less drone Aircraft have been widely used by Israeli forces to help target bombs, aircraft and helicopter attacks in Lebanon and Gaza. It is vital that the UK does not license components that could be used in the current conflict I very much welcome your personal support for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The need for such a treaty remains pressing and urgent. As a champion of the ATT, it is vital that the UK’s own arms export controls are sufficiently tough and that all necessary action is taken to prevent arms fueling the current crisis in Gaza.

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3 Responses to German-owned container ship with US munitions en route to Israel

  1. Although I fully support the ATT it should be noted that there is European Union arms export law already in force for 10 years, on which the ATT is based. Problem is, the law is not applied very consistently. Every EU country has its own arms export policy. The UK and the Netherlands for example are much more restrictive on arms exports to Israel than France. However, they do allow the exports of components and also allow the transit of arms from the US (whcih supplies 95% of the arms imports of Israel) through their ports and airports without any control or restriction.

    Because European countries want to support their own arms industries for reasons of national security they allow them to export even to countries that violate humanitarian law. See the international arms trade to Israel page on the website of the Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade.

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