Palestinians call on Italy to boycott Israeli military exercises
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched a campaign to pressure Italy to pull out of joint military exercises with the Israeli military in September, as a global movement for an arms boycott of Israel gained strength in the wake of the recent assault.
Dozens of Gazans took pictures of themselves holding signs across the besieged coastal enclave demanding Italy end its military cooperation with Israel in the exercise, which is expected to take place on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in September.
The pictures, taken across Gaza with backgrounds that include destroyed homes, hospitals, and the tiny coastal enclave's bombed seaport, include signs asking Italy not to "train the pilots who bomb us," and show "solidarity" by standing with "the oppressed."
The campaign comes in the wake of Israel's brutal assault on the Gaza Strip over the last six weeks, which has killed more than 2,090 Palestinians, injured more than 10,550, and left more than 100,000 homeless.
Although the campaign targets the Italian training in the autumn specifically, it is part of the larger Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement's call for a total arms embargo on Israel, originally issued in 2011.
The call noted that "cooperation with Israel is maintained despite its systematic resort to massive violence against and killing of Palestinian and other Arab civilians, including school children and peaceful activists, and in spite of its increasingly brutal colonial policies against the Palestinian people and the persistent flouting of international law."