— presented as part as the 8 Days Campaign in December 2016.
Israel has a long history of selling arms for violent conflicts all over the world. Israel sold weapons to Rwanda during the genocide, to South Africa during Apartheid, and to Serbia during the Balkan wars. Today, Israeli defense industry companies maintain business relations with those responsible for the mass murder in South Sudan, coordinated with and marketed by the Israeli government.
Since December 2013, a bloody civil war has been raging in the new state. According to human rights organizations, over 2.5 million civilians have been displaced due to the fighting, over half of the population is in need of humanitarian aid, tens of thousands have been murdered, and hundreds of villages have been burned down. In the South Sudan conflict, rape is used as a weapon, with both sides regularly targeting women. Over 16,000 children have been forcibly conscripted, now constituting a major part of the fighting forces.
In 2014, European countries declared a weapons embargo on South Sudan, the United States suspended military aid to the country, and many other countries now refuse to sell arms for the bloody mass murder of civilians there. In November, the United Nations declared the conflict in South Sudan might become a genocide. Israel reports to the UN Register of Conventional Arms that there are only 5 states it exports arms to, but in practice, recent decades have seen Israel export arms to some 130 different states around the world. Obscuring information about these sales is no accident, and one may assume that many Israelis would raise an eyebrow regarding the destinations of some of these arms deals, and the uses Israeli arms see there. Such is the case with South Sudan, where “Galil” rifles have been sighted in the fighting on multiple occasions. The Ministry of Defense, as well as many high-ranking Israelis, take pride in the extensive relations with the South Sudanese government. Representatives from South Sudan, including official acquisition delegations, often visit defense industry exhibitions and conventions, such as the ISDF, or the HLS conference held last month in the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
Israel is involved not only in heavily arming South Sudan, but also in training the state’s military forces (forces which include child soldiers.) In May 2015 MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) queried Defense Minister Ya’alon regarding the legality of defense exports to South Sudan, due to the reasonable concern that the exports might be used to commit war crimes. After her query went unanswered, Zandberg appealed to the High Court of Justice in 2016 together with Atty. Itay Mack against exporting an Israeli surveillance system to South Sudan. In 2016 the State of Israel asked to make the appeal confidential, and the proceedings have subsequently been held behind closed doors.