Israel reportedly seeks to import about 30 armoured vehicles made by Brampton, Ontario-based Roshel Inc.

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: An Israeli police armoured vehicle drives by as Palestinian Muslim worshipers who were prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque pray outside Jerusalem’s Old City, November 11, 2023. Photo by AP.

The CBC reports: “The federal government is deliberately slow-walking a request from Israel for permission to import Canadian-made armoured patrol vehicles, two sources tell Radio-Canada.”

Some reactions on social media to this story.

The article notes that shortly after October 7, 2023, the Israeli government sent a request to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for clearance to import about thirty armoured patrol vehicles.

The article continues: “When asked if approving an export visa for the armoured vehicles would violate Canada’s legal obligations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to comment.”

It then highlights: “Roshel Inc., the company that makes the armoured vehicles, said it’s been waiting for the government to make a decision on the permits for months. ‘It is our understanding that these vehicles are not to be used for military purposes, but solely for domestic police operations. This has been communicated to the government of Canada,’ the company said in an emailed statement.”

Israeli police violence

In 2016, Amnesty International stated: “Amnesty International, other human rights organizations and even the U.S. Department of State have cited Israeli police for carrying out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, using ill treatment and torture (even against children), suppression of freedom of expression/association including through government surveillance, and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.”

In June 2021, The Guardian reported: “The latest flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip has been accompanied by a ‘catalogue of violations’ committed by Israeli police against Palestinians in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem, according to research from Amnesty International.”

And in January 2024, The Guardian noted numerous cases of Israeli police violence including: “the killing of Sanad Salem al-Harbad, a Bedouin man who was allegedly shot twice in the back by Israeli police in March 2022; the killing of Ahmad Jamil Fahd, who was allegedly shot by police and left to bleed to death by a unit of undercover Israeli agents; the alleged assault in Israeli police custody of journalist Givara Budeiri; the 2020 killing of a 32-year-old unarmed autistic man Eyad al-Hallaq by Israeli police in East Jerusalem; the killing of a 15-year-old boy named Mohammed Hamayel; and the shooting of 16-year-old Palestinian Jana Kiswani.”

Photo of an Israeli police armoured vehicle in the West Bank. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.

Business obligations

The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 2011, cautions: “The responsibility to respect human rights is a global standard of expected conduct for all business enterprises wherever they operate. It exists independently of States’ abilities and/or willingness to fulfil their own human rights obligations, and does not diminish those obligations. And it exists over and above compliance with national laws and regulations protecting human rights.”

This responsibility extends to companies that build weapons, the components for weapons systems and other “military goods”, such as armoured vehicles.

CANSEC, May 29-30

Roshel Defence Solutions is listed as an exhibitor (Booth 1321) at the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) organized CANSEC arms show scheduled to take place this coming May 29-30 at the EY Centre in Ottawa.

“Israel Representatives” are also listed as an exhibitor (Booth M7).

Perhaps by the time of CANSEC in 2.5 months there will be greater clarity on the status of this sale of armoured vehicles.

To read the CBC article, go to Ottawa slow-walking Israel’s request for permission to import armoured vehicles: sources (March 14, 2024).

PBI calls for respect for international law, protection of human rights defenders and an immediate cease-fire in Gaza (Peace Brigades International statement, February 28, 2024). It notes: ” We call on the international community to suspend the supply of arms to Israel and the armed groups involved in the conflict.”

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