International News

Criticism of a commercial agreement with Israel by NGOs

The NGOs have played a central role in the campaigns over the last two decades to increase control over Spanish arms exports, and they have criticised the commercial agreement between the Spanish company Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas, S.A., and Goldtech Technologies, a supplier to the Israeli army and ministry of defense, for the future export of high technology for unmanned flights like those used by Israel in recent attacks against Gaza and Lebanon, including Operation Cast Lead. The Spanish company confirmed the agreement on the website Periodismohumano.

Israel is on the list of "destinations of serious concern" for arms manufactured in Spain, which according to NGOs including Fundació per la Pau, Intermon Oxfam, Amnesty International and Greenpeace, do not meet the requirements of Spanish law regarding the control of arms exports. In other words, they provide no guarantee that the weapons will not exacerbate latent conflicts or tensions, and will not be used for internal repression or to commit human rights violations in the destination country.

With regard to Operation Cast Lead, which took place at Christmas 2008, the Goldstone report, supported by the United Nations, stated that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, including attacks against children, a pregnant woman, a man on a motorcycle, men loading oxygen into a van and a police parade. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 29 civilians, (including eight children) were killed by these aeroplanes during the operation, which lasted three weeks. Amnesty International has documented the death of 42 civilians due to unmanned flights in Gaza.

In a joint declaration, the NGOs criticized the government's ongoing failure to comply with the Arms Trade Law approved in 2007. Among the sales in the first six months of 2009 are those to other countries with a very poor history in terms of human rights, including Colombia, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Guinea.

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