The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced the joint military exercises taking place between the Israeli occupation navy, the U.S. navy and the Greek navy at a NATO base as a threatening action against the Palestinian people and the entire Arab region that must be opposed by all progressive forces in Greece, as well as Palestine solidarity and progressive movements in the United States.
The current Government of Greece had pledged to end military cooperation with Israel. But as Israel continues settlement building, land confiscations, home demolitions, besieging Gaza, mass arrests, and field executions of Palestinians, the Greek navy is engaged in “joint training” exercises with the same Israeli occupation army responsible for the destruction of Palestinian land and lives.
The exercise included “training” attacks on ships at sea. We do not forget that in just the past several years, the Israeli military has attacked multiple civilian ships at sea seeking to break its unjust and illegitimate blockade against Palestinians in Gaza, some of these ships having launched from Greece itself. In 2010, the Israeli navy’s attack killed 10 international civil activists sailing against the siege and blockade. The Greek movement’s strength is in sending ships that break the blockade of Gaza, not ships that enforce the siege.
The Israeli navy engages in continual firing upon and destruction of Palestinian fishers’ ships in Gaza; in just the past week, 12 fishers have been arrested, and several boats confiscated and severely damaged. The occupation navy’s attack on Palestinian fishers is an attack on a Palestinian industry that supports 70,000 Palestinians in Gaza; it is not only a violent attack on individuals but one against the sustainability and existence of the Palestinian people and their traditional fishery.
The purpose of these training exercises is to strengthen the power of U.S. imperialism and its Zionist partner in the region while displaying massive military might in a threatening gesture against all of the peoples of the region. It is appalling that the Greek government continues to actively participate and host these exercises, underlining how, once more, it has turned its back on the popular mandate which brought it to power to reject austerity.
We also know very well that these exercises come in the context of an ongoing strategy of plundering and confiscation of the natural gas reserves that belong to the people of the region, including the Palestinian people, by the Zionist occupation, European countries, and their allies.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine urges action from the Greek movement for justice, against militarization, and in solidarity with the Palestinian people, against these threatening, violent exercises that train the occupation army and navy in even more effective practices of killing, oppression and occupation. We call on the progressive movements – who blocked an Israeli ship from being armed in Greece in 2009 during the brutal Zionist war on Gaza – to put an end to these military training exercises and the use of Greece as a base of operations for the training of the weapons of occupation against the Palestinian people.
Further, we call upon the Palestine solidarity and all progressive forces in the United States, the leading imperialist power in the world, key partner of the Zionist state and provider of $3 billion annually in military support for the occupation, to escalate the struggle against these joint military exercises, which also work to train US forces for imperial attacks around the world in partnership with their Zionist apartheid ally.
Palestinian organizations, forces and movements are united in their call for economic, military, academic and cultural boycott of the Zionist state. Participating in joint military exercises with the occupation navy is not only a betrayal of the Palestinian people but direct involvement in the war on Palestine. Of course, this is nothing new for U.S. military power and the U.S. government which provides unlimited backup and support for the Zionist state, but it must be confronted. Increasing numbers of people and social movements around the United States and around the world are expressing their rejection of the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, in churches, trade unions, universities and social movements.
It must also be noted that these war games took place at a NATO base, the military alliance that has brought disaster and destruction to the Arab world, from Iraq to Libya to Syria. Every progressive movement in a NATO country should demand an exit from this military alliance that threatens the security and peace of peoples around the world.
Confronting these joint military exercises is a challenge to the military alliance of Zionism and imperialism that daily threaten Palestinian lives, and a responsibility of progressive movements in Greece and in the U.S. End US/Israeli/Greek war games! No to NATO! Justice for Palestine!