Here are two reports from January 14, 2009 (AFP and Reuters) regarding Greek initiatives to stop arms shipments reaching Israel. Wish mass support the people in Greece show the world that we can indeed stop our governments from dealing arms.
UPDATE: US Cancels Munitions Shipment To Israel Via Greece
(Updates with further comments from Pentagon spokesman)
WASHINGTON (AFP)–The U.S. military has to had to cancel a planned shipment of munitions from a Greek port to a U.S. warehouse in Israel due to objections from Athens, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday.
“I think the Greek government had some issue with the offloading of some of that shipment in their country and so we are finding alternative means of getting that entire shipment to its proper destination in Israel,” spokesman Geoff Morrell told a news conference. “I don’t think we’ve come to a final resolution on how or when that will take place.”
The shipment had been agreed last summer before the current Israeli offensive in Gaza, he said.
He said the U.S. had operated the munitions stockpile for nearly 20 years and that Israel “can ask for permission to access” the munitions.
He said he didn’t know the nature of Greece’s objection and whether it was related to security or political concerns.
Greek govt under fire over U.S. arms to Israel
By Daniel Flynn and Andrew Gray
ATHENS/WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Greece’s opposition accused the ruling
conservatives on Tuesday of allowing U.S. arms shipments to Israel via a
Greek port for over a year, despite the government’s denials.
The U.S. military said on Monday it cancelled the shipment of 325 containers
of ammunition from the western Greek port of Astakos to a U.S. stockpile in
Israel, citing safety concerns at the Israeli port of destination due to the
conflict in Gaza.
However, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday the transport had been
cancelled at the request of the Greek government. Reports of the shipment
had provoked a media outcry in Greece, where Israel’s 18-day-old offensive
in Gaza is deeply unpopular.
“I think the Greek government has some issue with the offloading of some of
that shipment in their country and we are finding alternative means of
getting that entire shipment to its proper destination in Israel,” said
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.
He said the decision to replenish the stockpile, which can be accessed by
Israel with U.S. permission, had been taken long before the outbreak of the
Gaza conflict. Morrell said he did not know if Israel currently had access
to the weapons cache.
Greece’s opposition PASOK party submitted questions to parliament asking
whether U.S. arms shipments to Israel via Astakos, which it said dated back
to September 2007, had been approved by the government.
“Did the foreign ministry and other relevant ministries approve these
shipments or was Greek and international law replaced by practices that
weaken the sovereignty of this country?” read the PASOK statement.
Greece’s Communist party and a left-wing coalition have called
demonstrations at Astakos for Wednesday and Thursday.
PASOK said the alleged shipments were organised by a Greek-based detachment
of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command with the permission of Greek
authorities. It called for all the related documentation to be made public.
Greece’s ruling New Democracy party has said in recent days it has not
allowed supplies to the Israeli army to pass through Greece. It went further
on Tuesday by saying it had not given permission for any U.S. arms shipments
bound for Israel.
“The Greek side didn’t allow such a transport,” said government spokesman
Evangelos Antonaros, asked about the latest cargo. A shipping tender issued
on Dec. 31 by the U.S. military, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters,
showed the destination of the cargo was the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry say 971 Palestinians have been killed in
the offensive which Israel launched on Dec. 27 with the stated aim of ending
militant rocket fire from Gaza. On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and three
civilians hit by Hamas rockets have died. (Additional reporting by Renee
Maltezou in Athens and Stefano Ambrogi in London, editing by Mark Trevelyan)