Filipinos in solidarity with Palestine call for Arms Embargo now!

Filipinos in solidarity with Palestine call for Arms Embargo now!

As Filipinx/a/os in the diaspora, we have a direct and nuanced connection with the Palestinian People’s struggle. Our commonality lies within colonization, tying us all in the influence and harms of Western imperialism. The pursuit of justice and national liberation in the Philippines is intricately intertwined with the global struggle of oppressed communities worldwide, including Palestine.

It is our duty to sustain solidarity, recognizing that our fight for liberation is interconnected with that of other oppressed communities. Supporting Palestine's right to exist, claim their land, and resist oppression aligns with our own aspiration to be free from the remnants of colonization as Filipinos.

Supporting the Palestinian people means that we also need to interrogate our connections to the forces that oppress Palestine, particularly considering how those of us in so-called Canada and the US contribute tax dollars directly funding this genocide. We also can’t ignore the persistent ties between the Philippines and Israel and how it contributes to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This relationship also underscores the link to the attacks on Filipino activists, land defenders, and peasants, emphasizing the broader impact of Western imperialism from Palestine to the Philippines.

Unpacking Philippines’ relationship with Israel

The Philippine government has its ties with Israel for many decades. Although the Philippines historically acted benevolently by accepting Jewish people during World War II, a period when many nations turned them away, it also became a crucial factor leading to the UN resolution 181, partitioning Palestine into two states in 1947. The Philippines’ vote played a decisive role in the establishment of the state of Israel, a decision highly influenced by western imperialism.

Israel provides military weapons to the Philippines, which are the same weapons used to attack land defenders and activists in the motherland. In fact, the Philippines is the 3rd largest buyer of Israeli weapons ($275m), after Azerbaijan ($295m), and even more than the US ($217m). The IOF also trained the Philippine military on counterterror tactics at a time when Duterte equated activism with terrorism, which evidently has its impacts in the red-tagging of Filipino activists, peasants, Indigenous peoples and land defenders to this day.

The Philippines and Israel are strong trading partners. In addition to Israel supplying military weapons, it also contributes planes and technology to the Philippines. Conversely, the Philippines exports various goods, including gold, minerals, raw products like coconuts and cashews, and integrated circuits. These strong economic ties have influenced the lacking response the Philippine government has shown Palestinians and Filipino Palestinians affected by the ongoing genocide. Currently, Filipino Palestinians and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Palestine are left without adequate support. The many Filipino-Palestinian refugees repatriated in the Philippines also find themselves without aid and assistance from the Marcos government.

For our FilAm Community: How is the US complicit in all of this?

Israel is currently the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. military aid. The US gives military aid to Israel every year, including a $14.5b aid package in Nov 2023. This relationship not only ensures Israel gets top-quality weaponry, but also provides research and development for security and defense technologies. Not only are these technologies used in the regular military occupation in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, similar technologies are also used in places like the Philippines.

The United States consistently provides diplomatic cover and support to Israel. A recent illustration of this is the U.S. blocking a UN ceasefire resolution, highlighting the ongoing backing of Israel's actions.

For our FilCan Community: Canada’s complicity and legal accountability

Canada is implicated in the ongoing genocide through its arms trade with Israel and involvement in third-party contracts that finance military equipment. From 2018 to 2022, Canada has imported $130m in arms from Israel, ranking as Israel's 6th largest arms customer. Additionally, Canada has standing contracts with Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons company.

Canada bears a legal obligation under the Arms Trade Treaty and its domestic legislation to ensure that its arms exports do not contribute to serious violations of international law, including genocide or severe violence against women and children. However, Canada has reportedly violated this responsibility, evident in the significantly higher civilian casualty rate in this conflict compared to the global average during the 20th century. The ongoing genocide has claimed the lives of nearly 30,000 people in Gaza, predominantly women and children.

What can we do? Call for an Arms embargo now!

Calling for an arms embargo is the most tangible way Canada and the US can intervene in this genocide.

For our kababayans in Canada

For our kababayans in the US

  • Send a letter to Congress urging an end of military funding to Israel. This email campaign was organized by the Arab American Civic Council to end all military funding to Israel.
  • Amplify and Support the lawsuit against the U.S. government aiding and abetting of genocide. On November 13, 2023, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit against the President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense on behalf of two Palestinian organizations and eight Palestinians in the U.S. The case aims to challenge the U.S. government's alleged aiding and abetting of genocide, urging it to take action to prevent such atrocities and adhere to its legal obligations under international law. The lawsuit specifically seeks a court order compelling the Biden administration to halt diplomatic and military support and ensure compliance with international and federal legal obligations.

What else can we do? Support Filipino-Palestinian refugees, Filipino land defenders, and activists.

As Filipinos in solidarity with Palestine, we must support and follow the lead of Palestinian voices.

Today, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) made a historical ruling for Israel to take all measures to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, among other orders. As the Palestinian Youth Movement highlights, this ruling “should invite measured celebration.” While the ICJ ruling does not call for a ceasefire, it has tainted Israel with genocide. It also puts complicit states such as Canada and the US under the limelight, and puts pressure on their responsibility to abide by the ICJ ruling and stop arming Israel’s genocide against Palestian people. 

But this is also just one step to ending their complicity in the Zionist regime that occupies Palestine. May this call also urge us to amplify the call of Palestinian people and Palestinian-led movements to aim beyond a ceasefire. The movement has asked everyone to tie our calls towards lasting liberation for Palestinian people: to lift the siege on Gaza now, to release all Palestinian prisoners from Zionist jails, to end the 75-year occupation, and to end all forms of Western complicity in Zionism. 

Taking pride in being Filipino is to take pride in fighting for justice and liberation. We all have a role to play in stopping the genocide of Palestinian people - of any people - from Turtle Island, to Palestine, to the Philippines. 

This blog article is written by the collective from Filipinos united 4 Palestine, a united network of Filipino organizations, collectives, businesses and individuals in so-called Canada in solidarity with Palestine. 🇵🇸❤️‍🔥🇵🇭


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