Canada must cancel contracts for weapons used in Israeli killing of Canadian aid worker

Montreal, April 4, 2024Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is calling on the Canadian government to cancel all contracts for the purchase of Israeli weapons used in the targeted killing of a Canadian aid worker in Gaza. 33-year-old Jacob Flickinger was killed alongside 6 international and Palestinian volunteers with World Central Kitchen in a series of Israeli airstrikes on their aid convoy. An Elbit Systems Hermes drone and Rafael Spike missiles were reportedly used in the attack, and very similar models have been purchased by Canada in the last few years, valued at almost $80M. CJPME calls on the Canadian government to immediately cancel its weapons contracts with these Israeli companies and impose a full, two-way embargo on military trade with Israel.

“For years, we have urged Canada not to purchase weapons that are battle-tested on and used against Palestinian civilians. The targeted killing of a Canadian aid worker with this same technology must be a final wake-up call for the Prime Minister,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “There can be no further illusions about the nature of Israel’s weapons industry, which owes its existence to ongoing Israeli violence against Palestinians. With over 33,000 Palestinians killed in the current Gaza genocide, Canada must finally fully divest itself from these merchants of death,” added Bueckert.

Israel conducted its attack on the aid convoy with a Hermes 450 drone from Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons company. Elbit’s Hermes drones have been used routinely by Israel to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including children. In late 2020, Canada signed a $36M contract with Elbit for a Hermes 900 StarLiner drone, ostensibly for surveillance purposes. Although the StarLiner is supposedly a modified “civilian” version of Elbit’s other Hermes drones, it is “suitable for military and commercial applications.”

Israel also reportedly used Spike missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a major Israeli state-owned arms dealer, in three successive airstrikes targeting the vehicles in the aid convoy. For many years, Spike missiles have been known to be used by the Israeli military to commit war crimes in Gaza. In December, the Canadian military announced it was purchasing $43M worth of Spike LR2 missiles from Rafael.

“We should not be rewarding these war profiteers with multi-million-dollar contracts. It is beyond disturbing that the Israeli drone and missiles that were used to kill a Canadian aid worker, among countless Palestinian civilians, are close sister models to the weapons that Canada has purchased from those same companies. Canada should have nothing to do this with blood-soaked technology,” said Bueckert.

CJPME has been campaigning for the Canadian government to adopt a two-way arms embargo on Israel, including a ban on the import of military goods from Israel, and procurement measures to ensure that Canada does not buy technology from companies profiting from the oppression of Palestinians. In March, an original NDP motion text to “suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel” had the support of the Bloc Québecois, Green MPs, and reportedly up to 90 Liberal MPs. A CJPME-initiated Parliamentary e-petition for a two-way arms embargo received over 82,000 signatures, making it the 9th most popular e-petition in Parliament’s history. This week, four major public sector unions issued a letter calling for the suspension of military trade with Israel, including weapons imports.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME, 613-315-7947

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

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