DSEI, Defence and Security Equipment International, is one of the world’s largest arms fairs, which comes to East London’s Docklands every two years. For a week, the whole of the ExCeL Centre hosts arms companies from around the world to market their products, from missiles to fighter jets, tanks to sniper rifles.
This year, for the first time, the DIT DSO has officially invited a state delegation from Israel to attend.
In past years, Israel had its own “national pavilion” at DSEI, at which arms companies boasted of their weapons being battle-tested, but this year, DSEI upgrading Israel from a just a national pavilion to an official invitee.
Many activists take place at peaceful demonstrations gathering in opposition to Israel’s presence at the DSEI chanting Stop Arming Israel”, and they were met with heavy police presence.
It’s important to mention that they are protesting to send a message that the weapons marketed at the DSEI are used in Israeli military operations across the Occupied Territories, including in Gaza where the very arms being sold at the fair are used to kill scores of Palestinian civilians.
In 2018 only, Israel used military force to crack down on the unarmed protests, killing over 250 people including children, paramedics, disabled people and journalists, and injuring over 30,000 more. In one horrible day in May 2018, Israeli forces shot and killed some 60 Palestinians within a few hours.
Although Israel was condemned by the UN for committing “War Crimes”, the UK allows it to attend such an event!