Headline — 23 June 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Artists to protest Israeli training of Belize police

In a letter to PM Barrow and “all Belizean leaders,” the group said that “when the Israelis trained the Guatemalan Armed Forces, they told them to ‘treat the Indians like we treat the Palestinians.’”

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 21, 2018– A group which calls itself “Artists for Peace and Commonsense” has written to Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow and other Belizean leaders, expressing their shock that government has authorized the Israelis to carry out a course called “Police and Community”.

The group is planning to lead a protest in Belmopan on Tuesday morning, June 26, in front of the National Police Academy, and is calling on all like-minded citizens “to register our most energetic protest…”

The letter from “Artists for Peace and Commonsense” said, “When even the USA banned the sale of arms to the Guatemalan regimes in 1975, Israel agreed to provide arms, heavy weapons, aircraft and a munitions factory along with training and intelligence-gathering technology. Without that support, the GAF would have been unable to threaten Belize or defeat the freedom fighters, and the Guatemalan claim to Belize would have ended long ago.”

Last month, the state of Israel moved its embassy to Jerusalem and its soldiers proceeded to open fire on Palestinian people protesting the embassy move. Dozens of protesting Palestinians were mowed down by the Israeli army’s gunfire.

The Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was a guest at the US embassy opening, and Guatemala also moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

“On 13 June the UN General Assembly voted to condemn Israel for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, in a vote of 120 in favor and 8 against. Belize was one of those 120, so what is the sense of getting those same people to train our police how to treat our communities?” the letter to Belizean leaders said.

The letter added, “Records show that when the Israelis trained the Guatemalan Armed Forces, they told them to ‘treat the Indians like we treat the Palestinians’. We have seen how they treat the Palestinians. Is that how we want our police to treat us?”

 The letter continued, “On April 16, 2018, North Carolina, Durham’s City Council voted unanimously to ban training and exchanges between Durham’s police and the Israeli military. Activists proclaimed that ‘the Israeli Defence Force brutalizes and terrorizes the people of Palestine and so does the Durham Police Department. Here, they brutalize and terrorize black and brown communities.’”

And, “Furthermore, they argue that training of US police with Israeli military invites violations of civil rights, police brutality and murder of innocent citizens. Conscious Belizeans will not stand idly by and allow our police to receive that kind of training. Things are bad enough as they are,” the Artists for Peace and Commonsense said.

“We therefore call on you to refuse to allow Israeli training of our police force,” the letter said.

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