Declassified UK’s exposé comes in the aftermath of Britain’s Foreign Secretary announcing a travel ban on individuals involved in inciting settler violence against Palestinians.
One of the world’s largest annual arms events was scheduled to host Israeli military figures as keynote speakers in London.
On Monday, Declassified UK revealed that two of Israel’s largest weapons manufacturers, Elbit Systems and Rafael, were inked to feature at Defence iQ’s arms fair at Twickenham Stadium.
According to Declassified, Rafael initially put forward Yossi Pinto as their representative to Defence iQ’s International Armoured Vehicles Conference.
Pinto is a reservist within the Israeli forces.
In 2013, Yesh Din reported that Pinto commanded an Israeli army subdivision which cordoned off part of the West Bank as a militarised zone.
This gave free rein for illegal settlers to appropriate land owned by Palestinians.
Stealing land amid military occupation amounts to “pillage”. The International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute deems this a war crime.
Pinto joined Rafael after being appointed as Israel’s defence attaché to Greece, despite flouting international law that protects Palestinians’ rights to land ownership.
According to Declassified, Rafael’s force protection manager, Moshe Adler, was also set to speak at London’s weapons expo.
Today, Defence iQ’s event does not list Pinto or Adler as speakers.
However, many senior military officials from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and other countries, will be attending the event.
Representatives from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will also be in attendance.
UK travel ban on Israeli settlers
In December, Britain imposed a travel ban on individuals responsible for settler violence against Palestinians.
Announcing the decision via X, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said, “We are banning those responsible for settler violence from entering the UK to make sure our country cannot be a home for people who commit these intimidating acts”.
The former prime minister’s X post also called for tougher action from Israel to stem settler violence, as well as implement measures to hold perpetrators accountable.
Declassified has probed Defence iQ about whether Pinto’s whereabouts have been referred to the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit, given the above travel ban and the reservist’s history of encouraging settler violence.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has observed settler violence instances in the occupied West Bank since October 7.
UN OCHA reported in a flash update published on Monday that 444 instances of settler attacks against Palestinians have been reported.
These attacks have resulted in at least 44 casualties.
UN OCHA’s flash update also reported 344 instances of Palestinians experiencing property damage at the hands of illegal settlers.
During these instances, the humanitarian affairs agency found that personnel from the Israeli forces were either accompanying or reported to be supporting the attackers.
In a 2021 statement by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, settlements established in occupied Palestinian territory are denounced as illegal under international law.
According to the Foreign Office, this form of violent expansionism also poses a threat to future peace deals in the region.
“We call for the construction of these in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank to cease immediately,” the statement concluded.