BNC Statement

The Palestinian National Committee for the BDS Campaign sends an open letter to Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador

August 28, 2009

President Rafael Correa,


President Rafael Correa,


On behalf of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestmentand Sanctions National Committee (BNC), which is drawn from the majorPalestinian political and social forces and tasked to promote the PalestinianUnified Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, we would like to expressour deep concern regarding the statement by Israeli Foreign Minister AvigdorLieberman published in the Peruvian El Comercio which read "theIsraeli minister of Infrastructure (Benjamin Ben Eliezer [sic]) will bevisiting Ecuador soon."[i]


We are also deeply concerned about thepossibility that an arms deal with Israel be finalized during the visit.  


Your country’s exemplary new constitution defines Ecuador as a territoryof peace and guarantees its inhabitants the right to a culture of peace. It isa symbol of the struggle for self-determination of the indigenous people in theAndes and around the globe and is in opposition to colonialism and racism.  Theinvitation of Israeli ministers to your country, however, gives legitimacy to agovernment that continues the decades-old policies of ethnic cleansing of theindigenous Palestinian people, practices racial discrimination against them,and continues to occupy and colonize their lands in open defiance ofinternational law and human rights principles.


The current government of Israel is accelerating the construction of theWall and the settlements and maintains the illegal, barbaric siege on Gazawhich UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Prof. Richard Falk, called a‘prelude to genocide’. Its coalition partners have proposed laws to prohibitthe commemoration of the expulsion of the majority of the Palestinian peoplefrom their homeland, and it has decided to remove indigenous Arabic names fromstreets and towns in order to wipe our existence out of history. Only days ago,the Knesset approved a land reform that effectively excludes the indigenousPalestinians from land rights[ii],pre-empting the UN-sanctioned right of Palestinian refugees to return to theirhomes of origin[iii].


We are further concerned that the Israeli interest in a visit to Ecuadormay be aimed at promoting the finalization of the two, possibly not-yet signedcontracts, for Israeli unmanned aircraft vehicles (drones). According to the Stockholm InternationalPeace Research Institute, Ecuador has readied two contracts with the IsraeliAerospace Industries for six drones in 2008, apparently still pending signature[iv]. 


Drones, in addition to their use for scouting and tracking targets, wereused by Israel in some of the more horrific war crimes against defencelesscivilians during the 2006 war on Lebanon and the 2008-9 war of aggressionagainst Gaza, such as the January 3 attack which killed 15 Palestinians andinjured 30[v].Drones are further employed by the Israeli occupation army for extrajudicialkillings.

We highly appreciate the principled positions on Palestine that Ecuadorhas taken under your presidency. We particularly appreciate your principledstance at the United Nations during the Israeli assault on Gaza in January2009. While Ecuador promotes through its Ombudsman an Advisory and EthicsTribunal on Palestine and Bolivia seeks regional allies to bring Israel beforethe International Criminal Court, buying drones from Israel seems politicallycontradictory and morally unacceptable. Furthermore, this would be at odds withthe constitutional obligation of Ecuador to “promote a new trade and investment system among the states thatsupports justice and solidarity […].”[vi]


The profits from the exports of the Israeli military industry are a corepart in the economic sustainability of the occupation regime. Its weapons aretested and developed in the oppression and killings of the Palestinian people.


Finally, we fear that Israelidiplomatic activity in Latin Am
erica may have negative effects on regional integrationand would hinder the trends of greater South-South cooperation.
After Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic ties with Israel, the Israeli government hasbecome increasingly concerned about South American solidarity with Palestineand is attempting to undercut a possible spilling over of this trend intodecisions of other governments. During his recenttrip to the region, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, clearlyfomented opposition to Venezuela, a founding member of the ALBA, and attackedthe links between Latin America and the Middle Eastern energy producingcountries. Within the framework of a vision of a new world order, based on globaljustice and international relations of solidarity and equality, we can onlydeplore these attempts and hope that Ecuador will not open its doors further tosuch agitation within and between the states of Latin America.


We hope instead that Ecuador will follow thecall made by H. E. Father Miguel D´Escoto Brockmann, President of the GeneralAssembly of the United Nations, regarding Israel:

“Twenty years ago we played a major role whenfollowing civil society and decided it was necessary to apply sanctions to puta nonviolent pressure against South Africa. Today we shall follow the exampleof a new generation of our civil society that is calling to a similarnonviolent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to put pressure onIsrael.”[vii]


We believe that Ecuador can play an importantrole in promoting the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) todevelop effective mechanisms to pressure Israel to comply with its obligationsunder international law, as was done against the apartheid regime in SouthAfrica.


We sincerely hope that Ecuador will uphold its ethical message of peaceand justice and its commitments to international law by declining to hostrepresentatives of the Israeli government and, most crucially, refuse to enterinto arms deals with Israel.





Secretariat, Palestinian BDS National Committee



CC: His Excellency, Fander Falconi, Foreignaffairs Minister of Ecuador

[i] There is an evident mistake in the report as Uzi Landau is thecurrent minister of Infrastructure and Benjamin Ben Eliezer is the Minister ofIndustry, Trade and Labor.

[ii] Palestinians are excluded from land rights on 68.2%of all residential areas and 84% of the rural communities in Israel andtransfers the properties stolen from the Palestinian refugees to other (Jewish)owners

[iv] See the database on 

[v] They werepraying when a drone fired at the Martyr Ibrahim al-Maqadma Mosque See  (Threemore died later of their injuries). For more war crimes involving drones, see:

[vi] > Constitution of Ecuador, Section VIII, chapter 1,  Article 416, para. 12.

[vii] Statement of H.E. FatherMiguel D'Escoto Brockmann, President of the United Nations General Assembly, onthe International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinan people, November 242008.

August 28, 2009


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