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Palestinian youth protesters gather outside Lockheed Martin in Esquimalt

Similar protests occurred in Vancouver, Quebec City, Calgary and Toronto
The Palestinian Youth Movement is asking for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. (Thomas Eley/ New Staff)

Calls for an immediate and indefinite ceasefire in Gaza rang out at the Lockheed Martin offices in Esquimalt on Feb. 28.

Sixty people stood arm in arm outside the building, making it difficult to enter the complex shared with the Department of Defense, said Han Elkhatib, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement.

“We’re disrupting business as usual. A lot of workers have been sent home or haven’t even been allowed to go in. So, that’s a win for us.”

The rally in Victoria mirrors similar demonstrations throughout Canada, with Vancouver and Toronto seeing similar protests, said Elkhatib.

“It is to draw attention to weapons manufacturers in our cities. Business, as usual, won’t be allowed until there’s an arms embargo.”

Israel launched an invasion of Gaza after Hamas killed 1,139 people in one of the worst acts of violence against the Jewish state, with more than 240 people being taken hostage.

Lockheed Martin manufactures Hellfire missiles used in the conflict, and Elkhatib claims that these rockets killed journalists and Palestinian children.

“Over 100 journalists have been murdered. 12,000 Palestinian children have been killed,” she said.

Elkhatib said that the Canadian Government has a responsibility under the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure any weapons that are exported are not to be used for potential war crimes.

“The government needs to make their calls for a ceasefire real by implementing an immediate arms embargo on Israel.”

She said Canada could look at imposing an embargo against Israel over the use of these weapons and call for an immediate ceasefire.

“Canada has imposed an embargo on Israel in the 1980s, so there is no reason why one should not be enacted today.”

Historically, Canada’s arms exports to Israel had been subjected to considerable restrictions, from 1948 until 1996 Canada had in place some version of what was commonly referred to as an “arms embargo.”

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About the Author: Thomas Eley

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