RUSSELL TRIBUNAL: Britain assists Israelis in war crimes 24Nov10 November 25, 2010

Press TV -  24 November 2010
Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) has lashed out at British arms companies for giving assistance, and encouraging war crimes and rights abuses by Israeli authorities.

The three-day international tribunal in London was held to investigate corporate complicity in Israeli regime’s violations of international laws and regulations and human rights abuses as far as the Palestinian people are concerned, according to news agencies.

The London tribunal heard evidence about deals major UK-based multinational companies, including British-Danish security firm G4S, have clinched with Tel Aviv to help Israeli authorities to commit war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The tribunal heard that Israeli army has widely used Hermes 450 drones manufactured by the arms company Elbit during its last year’s brutal attacks on Gaza, yet the British Army awarded the Israeli firm and its partner, Thales UK, a deal worth more than $1 billion to develop the Watchkeeper, the next generation of drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) aircrafts.

John Hilary, executive director of War on Want charity urged the British government to launch a two-way arms embargo on Israel.

He told the jury at the Russell that Israeli company Verint has supplied CCTV cameras for the London Underground.

Hilary went on to say that the British government has conceded that components licensed for export from Britain have “almost certainly” been used by the Israeli army in Gaza last year during its so-called “Operation Cast Lead.”

The tribunal, which was the second round of such an event held in Barcelona in March this year, kicked off its work on Saturday.

The Barcelona Tribunal exposed both passive and proactive EU complicity in supporting Israel, particularly by broadening its trade deals with the occupying regime.

Israeli academic, Dalit Baum from the “Who Profits?” research project presented testimony at the London Tribunal on Sunday. He said that the complicity of British-Danish firm involved human rights abuses at the notorious Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.

Another witness, Saskia Müller testified that the Dutch company PFZW has invested in two Israeli companies complicit in the occupation of the West Bank.

Other evidence came from Josh Reubener, national advocacy director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, who told the jury that the Obama administration was shortly due to request a record budget of $3.75 billion from the US congress to be allocated to Tel Aviv.

The jury, which was due to give its verdict on corporate complicity, consists of UK barristers Lord Anthony Gifford, Michael Mansfield QC and John Dugard, former special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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