In recent years South Korea has dramatically increased its military relationship with Israel. On average, it imports $280 million US of Israeli-manufactured defense products per-year. In accordance with Palestinian Civil Society’s call for a military embargo on Israel, we call on the South Korean Government to cancel the sale of its T-50 Golden Eagle Jet and cut all defense ties with Israel until it demonstrates the will to abide by the principles of International Humanitarian Law. We urgently ask you to join us in petitioning this request to the South Korean Government.
Republic of Korea President Myung-bak Lee
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Commissioner of Defense Acquisition Program Administration ,
We are aware that the Israeli Airforce is considering the purchase of South Korea’s T-50 “Golden Eagle” Jet. We are also aware that the South Korean Government and Korean Aerospace Industries are both eager to see this sale finalized. Indeed, the results of this sale could be that of a great honour to South Korea and its Aerospace Industry. It would certainly upgrade its position as an International Arms Exporter and South Korea would certainly experience the subsequent economic benefits of the sale.
Presently, the Government of Israel, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, is strongly pushing its politics of aggression, territorial expansion and non-compliance with International Law. The human rights situation for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories continues to deteriorate as Israel continues to construct settlements in direct conflict with International Law. Israeli military aggression has taken 88 lives, just this year and 30 during August. This included a 1 year old child. Meanwhile, Israeli NGOs report that Palestinian Citizens in Israel continue to suffer institutionalized discrimination and racism in many areas of public life.
In such a situation, we are afraid that the sale of the T-50 to Israel will result not in honour but in disappointment from the international community.
We are also afraid that this agreement and the sale of the T-50 signals increased cooperation between the Arms Industries of South Korea and Israel. Defense imports from Israel already stand at $280 Million and The T-50 is already equipped with electronic devices made by Elbit Systems, a weapons company with such a reputation for involvement in human rights violations, that it has already been expelled from Norway’s National pension fund.
On July 8th, Palestinian Civil Society called for a Comprehensive Military Embargo with the stated goal of forcing Israel into:
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.
A time ago South Korea was committed to the right to Self-Determination of the Palestinian people. Many will not remember it, but in December of 1981, the Foreign minister of the ROK Government declared, at the UN Palestine solidarity week, ‛We want to express our fully support and solidarity to the Palestinians ideals and legitimate struggles towards self-determination’ and ‛Israel must evacuate from all Arab territory which it occupied by military means in 1967, including Jerusalem.’
Nowadays the South Korean Government is proud of South Korea’s good standing in the International Community, but they have to recognize that this position greatly originated from their statements for world peace and justice, just like the above declaration for Palestine.
So, we ask you to:
1) Cancel the sale of the T-50 Jets to Israel
2) Respect the Palestinian call for a Comprehensive Military Embargo of Israel.
In this, we are asking you to choose between the opportunity to gain monetarily and the opportunity to show the world that South Korea refuses to fuel conflict and enable the brutalization of civilians. That South Korea is a Nation which values peace and the rule of International Law.