Israeli weapons used to kill environmental activists: report

Israeli weapons used to kill global environmental activists: report
2 min read
02 July, 2021
Police forces in Honduras, Colombia, Brazil and other countries where environmental activists are being targeted are using Israeli-made machine guns, rifles and pistols.
A record 212 environmental activists were killed globally in 2019 [Getty]

Israeli weapons have been used against activists working to protect human rights and the environment around the world, according to Israeli media.

Tel Aviv maintains close ties with regimes in Honduras, Colombia, Brazil and other countries where environmental activists are subject to violent attacks or killed.

Members of the Tayrona militia in Colombia, a paramilitary organisation accused of committing murders, disappearances and rapes, were trained by Israelis and used the acquired skills to "slaughter civilians," according to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Since the 1980s, the security forces of right-wing governments in Colombia and their affiliated paramilitary groups have been using Israeli-made weapons and rifles manufactured in Colombia by the government-owned Indumil company with the approval of Israel's Ministry of Defence. There was no monitoring on how the manufactured Galil rifles were to be used, the report said.

Israel maintains close ties with the regime of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who recently visited Israel in late June. Thereafter, the two countries signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding and a major security-related agreement in 2016.

Campaigners for environmental justice and workers' rights have been killed, the latest of whom was Felix Vasquez on December 26. In 2019, 14 activists were murdered; in 2018, four more were killed.

Officers in Honduras' military police and its two elite units were equipped with assault rifles with the approval of Israel's Ministry of Defence. Authorities in Honduras admit that some of the Israeli-made weapons were used for criminal activities but claim they were "stolen" from the police.

In Indonesia, police forces and other authorities use a cell phone hacking system designed by Israel's Cellebrite digital intelligence company. The system has been used in the Indonesian regions of Sumatra and West Papua, and in Borneo, where indigenous communities face violence, incrimination and arrests by police and investigative units.

Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who was one of the world leaders closest to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited Israel in April 2019. His government is notorious for its brutality against the indigenous population, which opposes the privatisation of the Amazon rainforest.

Police forces throughout Brazil use Israeli-made machine guns, rifles and pistols and last August, the Sao Paolo military police and its Rota unit began receiving shipments of Negev machine guns, according to Haaretz.

States have an obligation to assess if the transfer may have a negative impact on human rights.