The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomes the news that the Edinburgh international science Festival will no longer involve Selex ES. The Edinburgh based arms company Selex ES is a subsidiary of the giant Italian corporation Finmeccanica.
Last year Selex ES terminated its sponsorship of the science festival festival but remained involved with running the event ‘Rampaging Chariots’. Simon Gage, festival director, has confirmed that the festival in 2016 will have no involvement with the arms company.
Campaign against the arms trade has for many years calling for the science festival to break with Selex ES. Its long-standing sponsorship of the festival has received widespread criticism from the education sector, from MSPs and the general public.
Selex Es has provided weapon management systems and radar equipment for the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 and 900 drones. Elbit details on its website that the 450 Hermes drone is the backbone of the Israeli unmanned air systems.
Between 8th July and August 26th 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against the people of Gaza. Israeli military subjected Gaza to bombing from land, sea and air, along with a ground invasion. After nearly two months of missile attacks and ground invasion, 2,200 Palestinians had been killed by overwhelming Israeli firepower, mainly innocent civilians. Israel had targeted every level of the Gazan infrastructure destroying hospitals, schools, utility sources and many homes.
Israel even attacked a UN shelter, refused entry to independent human rights monitors inside Gaza and destroyed over 18000 homes. Over 30% of the causalities were children.
The threat has not receded; Gaza is constantly under threat from Israeli attacks, especially through the unmanned drones that Selex ES helped to create.
The Edinburgh international science festival promotes itself as place that encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the wonder of the world around them. In 2016, it can do this with out the support of a company that profits from the murder of thousands of Palestinians.
Sofiah MacLeod, Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said,’ The Science Festival is an educational charity and its relationship with a major arms company has severely damaged its reputation. We welcome that Selex ES is no longer involved but will continue to work to highlight Selex ES association with the education sector.’
Selex pulls out of sponsorship
Selex was selected by Elbit to produce the radar system for the Hermes 450 and 900 drones:
Elbit is Israel’s largest arms company: http://www.corporatewatch.org/company-profiles/elbit
The Israeli military uses these drones / tests them on Palestinians:
The Hermes 900 made its debut and brought “big results” last summer: