Moviment Graffitti is staunchly against Malta joining the EU’s Red Sea mission, Operation Aspides, saying participation would go against Malta’s constitutional principle of neutrality and active peace-seeking.
Malta is “considering” participating in the EU’s Red Sea mission to defend commercial ships from Yemeni Houthi attacks, according to MaltaToday.
“We call on Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri, Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg, and Prime Minister Robert Abela to ensure Malta stays out of Operation Aspides,” Graffitti said in a statement on Tuesday.
The NGO said that Malta’s participation in Aspides would help restore normal trade with Israel, a country accused of genocide and killing thousands of Palestinians in attacks on Gaza.
"Moviment Graffitti appeals to the Maltese Government to instead direct its efforts for the restoration of safe trade passage through the Red Sea route by working within international institutions towards a permanent ceasefire and an end to the Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," the NGO said.
In November 2023, the Ansarullah ‘Houthi’ movement started attacking commercial ships connected to Israeli companies, saying that they will continue to do so until humanitarian aid is delivered to Gaza and Israel ceases its aggression.
According to the statement, this act of resistance has disrupted 12 percent of global trade, with 95 per cent of all routes that previously passed through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, being rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope.
“This is causing up to 30-day delays and more than doubling of the cost of exports, apart from serious corporate divestment,” the statement read.
OCCL and Evergreen, two shipping giants, have publicly announced that they would no longer accept any Israeli cargo, with most others suspending their routes that pass through the region.
"While the response from most Western countries in trying to stop the genocide in Gaza has been meek at best, and actively supportive of genocide at worst, the response to strained trade routes has been resounding with the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and others all signing on to Operation Prosperity Guardian, a military operation that has seen airstrikes against Ansarallah targets on both land and sea," Graffitti said.
The NGO continued that while the EU has not wholly supported the operation, EU member states have approved a Common Security and Defence Policy military operation in the Red Sea seeking to protect merchant ships by intercepting attacks against them.
This has seen the contribution of Italian frigates and guided missile destroyers, a US aircraft carrier and a German air defence frigate. These vessels armed with highly advanced weapons are making their way to the Red Sea in preparation to support Israeli trade, and thwart resistance against Israel’s genocide.
“We demand that Malta does its utmost to stop this escalation of violence from taking place and ensure that no Maltese resources, officers or staff have any involvement in this operation,” Graffitti said.
“Doing so would be breaking the principle of our constitutional neutrality which clearly states that Malta should refuse to “…to participate in any military alliance…” as well as actively pursue “…peace, security and social progress among all nations…”
It ended the statement by calling for Malta to not aid and abet genocide, whether directly or by proxy.