• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Arms companies supplying IDF invited to Holyrood reception

ByIda Middlemiss Frost

Feb 20, 2024
An exterior shot of Scottish Parliament with the Salisbury Craigs in the background.

Arms companies supplying Israel with bombs and military equipment have been invited to the Scottish Parliament by ADS Group, who represent the arms sector in the UK. 

The Israeli military and Hamas have been at war since 7 October, after Hamas killed more than 1200 people in an attack on Israel. Since then, over 28,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military. 

The reception will be help on 21 February with the guest list including US company Raytheon, which manufactures smart bombs, and Italian company Leonardo and UK company BAE Systems, which both make components for F-35 fighter jets. This military equipment has been used by Israeli forces in the attacks on Gaza.

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The reception is hosted by the Scottish Parliament, despite Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) having previously voted to call for an immediate ceasefire in November.

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney withdrew his parliamentary sponsorship for the event, saying he was “mindful of the sensitivities”. 

Sweeney previously worked for BAE Systems, one of the companies invited to the event. He said his initial motivation for sponsorship was to highlight engineering apprenticeship roles for Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

The event is still planned to go ahead, despite Holyrood’s statement that “all events held in the parliament require an MSP sponsor”.

Palestinian activist groups and human rights groups have spoken out against the planned reception. 

Gerry Coutts from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, said:

“It is shameful that companies are profiting from what the International Criminal Court calls plausible genocide carried out by the Israeli military,” in reference to the ICJ case raised against Israel in January. 

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Emma Cockburn from Campaign Against Arms Trade accused Holyrood of “cosying up to warmongers.”

ADS Group responded that Scotland’s defence sector is “vital” to the economy.

A protest will be held outside Holyrood on 21 February, organised by the Edinburgh Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee. 

Image via Rayna Carruthers