Military Embargo

On July 9 2011, the largest Palestinian coalition encompassing all Palestinian political parties, trade unions, NGOs and mass organisations, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), issued a call for an immediate and comprehensive military embargo on Israel.

“A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It forms a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region, and it constitutes an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law,” reads the BNC’s call.

Along with the call itself, the BNC also published a detailed legal and political analysis of international military relations with Israel and their impact.

Palestinian activists with the Hirak Shababi youth movement gathered in front of the United Nations office in Ramallah to symbolically deliver the call along with evidence of international military collusion with Israel.

Supporters of the military embargo call include Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Alternative Nobel Prize winners Walden Bello and Chico Whitaker and best-selling Canadian writer and journalist Naomi Klein have also supported the demands of the call.

Trade union confederations such as the South African COSATU and the Brazilian CUT, have announced their support for the campaign.

Civil society groups from more than a dozen countries have announced their support for the campaign and the actions they intend to take over the course of the launch.

The call was released to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling confirming the illegality of Israel’s West Bank apartheid Wall and the sixth anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.

Extract from the Call

A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It would form a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region and would constitute an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands (1967) and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

In light of the above, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations, calls upon all people of conscience, movements and organizations worldwide to support this call for a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo on Israel and to pressure governments, multilateral bodies and the UN, as well as private and public companies and institutions, to:

1. Cease forthwith any provision to Israel of arms and related materiel of all types, including the sale or transfer of weapons and ammunitions, military vehicles and equipment, para-military police equipment, including dual-use equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and cease as well the provision of all types of equipment and supplies and grants of licensing arrangements for the manufacture of aforementioned or maintenance of the aforementioned;

2. Stop all military and dual-use imports (equipment, assistance and munitions) from Israel;

3. Stop the transfer of military products to and from Israel through national ports, territory and airspace;

4. Stop cooperation with the Israeli army, military companies, and military-related R&D projects, including joint ventures (whether bilateral or multilateral);

5. Halt all military-related training and consultancies involving the Israeli army, military companies and academic research institutions;

6. End all military aid to Israel;

7. Refrain from any cooperation with Israel in the manufacture and development of nuclear weapons and mobilize for a nuclear-free Middle East;


  1. BNC-military-embargo-background-document-9-7-2011(556 KiB)
  2. BNC-call-for-military-embargo-9-7-2011(221.7 KiB)

Key messages of support

“I endorse this call for an arms embargo because we desire peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis through non-violent ways,” said Archbishop Tutu.
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate

“A comprehensive military embargo is a just response to Israel’s continuing intransigence to the world’s demand that it cease its extremely oppressive policies towards the Palestinian people.  It is a campaign that is long overdue.”
– Walden Bello, Right Livelihood Award recipient (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) and member of the Philippines parliament

“Abolishing Israeli Nuclear weapons and armaments going into and coming out of Israel will help create the conditions for a just peace.   I therefore support the BDS movement’s
call for an arms embargo against Israel.”
– Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

“This much-deserved military embargo is a crucial step towards ending Israel’s impunity.”
– Naomi Klein, best-selling writer and journalist

“If Israel weren’t the proliferated nuclear and military power it is, more progress would have been achieved in the peace process”
– Daniel Vischer, Geri Müller, Josef Lang, Carlo Sommaruga, members of the Swiss parliament


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