March 14, 2010

St Patrick's Day Special: Irish army buying Israeli bullets?

Ireland is considered to be somewhat more pro-Palestinian than other EU countries. For example, last year, Ireland was one of the few EU countries to endorse the Goldstone report at the UN. But behind all the talk of the Irish government taking a stronger line on Israel than other European countries, and of being outraged by Israeli use of Irish passports for its terrorist actions, it's business as usual.

One of Israel's main businesses is of course war, and as Naomi Klein wrote in The Shock Doctrine, it makes a tidy profit from exporting weapons of war. Ireland has long been a trading partner with Israeli arms companies - buying drones for use in UN peacekeeping (that failed to function), and buying surveilence systems from Elbit, the notorious security company being blacklisted elsewhere in Europe for its participation in the occupation regime.

The latest scandal is that Israeli Military Industries (which in its favour, doesn't try to be euphemistic about what it does) might win a contract to supply the Irish army with bullets. I wonder what their USP was - 'as tested in Gaza'?, 'proven to kill and kill and kill'? Cynics, which we all tend to be, might point to this as yet another example of Irish politicians saying one thing - in this case calling for evenhandedness and talks with Hamas - simply in order to do another.

However, I don't think this is a lost cause. The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has informed a number of politicians about this issue. They are equally dismayed and have promised to raise the issue, and we intend to do more lobbying in the coming weeks. As part of this, we have an online petition and facebook site for the public to sign up to. The petition site contains more information about this deal. Sign, and spread it around! We can ensure this rotten deal doesn't go ahead.


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