MPPM calls for the end of Portugal's relations with the Israeli military-industrial complex

It is perplexing to hear the news recently published [1] of the meeting between the Ministers of Science and Technology of Portugal and of Israel, which envisages closer relations between the space agencies of the two countries, which would culminate in the signing of a cooperation agreement.

It is understandable that Israel, subject to widespread condemnation by the international community due to  its systematic disregard for international law and the announced annexation of vast parts of the occupied West Bank, enthusiastically welcomes all manifestations of “normalization” by other countries.

It's harder to understand that, if this report is confirmed, Portugal would lend itself to that role. This would be a serious initiative on the part of a government that to date has not taken a formal position condemning the Israeli government's plans to annex almost a third of the West Bank.

What is at issue, as always when discussing scientific and technological cooperation with Israel, is the invisible line that, in this country, separates applications for military purposes from applications for civil purposes.

The dual use – civil and military – of technology was recognized by the chairman of the Israel Space Agency (AEI), Isaac Ben-Israel [2]: «Defense activities are under the Ministry of Defense, not under ISA. But because we are a small country, if you build a small-satellite production line, say at IAI [Israel's Aerospace Industry], it will be used for military and for commercial.»

This announced cooperation between the space agencies of Israel and Portugal follows on from other direct or indirect links between our country and the Israeli military-industrial complex.

In November 2019, MPPM denounced and forthrightly condemned [3] Portugal's acquisition of electronic warfare equipment (EW Suite) from the Israeli company Elbit Systems intended for the KC-390 aircraft of the Portuguese Air Force.

More recently, dozens of European organizations, including MPPM, launched a petition [4], which has collected over 10,000 signatures, to demand an end to the agreement between the European Maritime Security Agency (EMSA) and the Israeli military company Elbit Systems, in which EMSA leases, through the Portuguese company CEiiA, two Hermes 900 “killer drones” for maritime border surveillance.

Israel's military industry is complicit in Israel's brutal colonial repression — and boasts of it, advertising its equipment as “field-tested” — against the people of Palestine, victims of countless violations of the most basic human rights and denied their legitimate national rights. European Union rules only allow the allocation of research funds – of which Israel is a major beneficiary – to projects intended for civilian purposes.

Due to the obligations imposed on it by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, the United Nations Charter, international law and international humanitarian law, MPPM believes that the seriousness of this news requires a full explanation from the Government.

MPPM reiterates the demand that the Government of Portugal cease all relations, direct or indirect, with the Israeli military-industrial complex.

July 13, 2020

The National Directorate of MPPM


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