Switzerland is no longer the country of ice, chocolate and noble humanitarian commitments. In addition to its name being included in the leaked bank accounts, another problem has emerged in Switzerland's dealings that may revive a military production industry that serves those committing war crimes, according to increased warnings.
A sign with the Swiss flag and the phrase "Stop funding drones that kill our children" accompanied by a child's doll lying among the ruins resulting from the Israeli bombing of Gaza is a warning on behalf of the Palestinian victims. It is warning against making drone deals between the Israeli and Swiss armies. Over a quarter of a billion dollars were allocated for this in the current year's budgets.
The Israeli aircraft, which the Swiss army announced its intention to purchase last June for non-combative purposes, are Hermes 900 models. These are produced by the major Israeli military weapons manufacturers Elbit Systems. They are also planning to purchase Heron 1 models produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
However, this deal causes additional trouble for Switzerland's image, which already has enough to deal with given the SwissLeaks issue regarding secret bank accounts. These aircrafts are a main means of surveillance and bombing for the Israeli army and they have claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and wounded thousands more over the past few years, both directly and indirectly.
They also pose a threat to the Palestinian civilian population around the clock, as their sound fills the air in Gaza. The Israeli military production industry is increasingly relying on the export of drones to support their financial capabilities and revive their investments in development and production. This means that the Swiss deal will contribute to supporting the Israeli occupation's military system and its acts of murder and destruction.
In response to this impending deal, posters opposing this outrageous deal are being spread on the Internet and social networking sites, such as the hashtag #swissdeal. Lobbying parties and initiatives warn that "Switzerland is going to make a deal with an occupying power that insists on violating the Geneva Conventions, which Switzerland is a fiduciary of."
While messages of protest against the Swiss diplomatic actions are being voiced in Europe and the Arab world, on February 26, a petition against the deal will be submitted in Switzerland and will be supported by dozens of civil society organisations, including human rights organisations. The petition has received over 28,000 signatures as of Friday, February 6, and its goal is 30,000 signatures.
Posters circulated by activists in social media sites show the famous Swiss Army knife with slogans such as "It can also kill Palestinian children" and "Swiss Army knives cut Palestinians with Israeli drone deal".
Even if Switzerland signs the deal and ignores the mounting criticism, it is likely to discover that the true price of the deal will go well over a third of a billion dollars, especially if some believe that Switzerland's commitment to peace and humanitarian principles and its preservation of the spirit of the Geneva Accords is a pierced commitment, exactly like Swiss cheese.
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