“The Israeli military industry exploits the occupation of Palestine, and specifically the siege on Gaza, as an arena to battle-test, invest in, and innovate military technology to later be marketed to the international community based on their effectiveness on Palestinian civilians,” says the recent report penned by the ‘Hamushim’ human rights group, which campaigns against the occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The NGO is run by the Coalition of Women for Peace, an Israel-based group partnering with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning American Friends Service Committee.
The Israeli defense industry has a history of marketing its products after violent clashes with the Palestinians, the report says, noting that the bloody 2014 Israeli-Gaza conflict helped the companies to sell Hermes 900 Kochav drones, next-generation Hatzav tank shells and MPR500 ‘smart bombs.’
According to the activists, the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in Gaza have also helped Tel Aviv to promote new army tech.
“Israeli media focused on the combat advantages of both in the military preparation for the Great March of Return and during the march itself,” they wrote, noting that the clashes with the Palestinians provided an opportunity to test out Matrice 600 and Phantom 3 tear gas drones.
The models, dubbed ‘Sea or Tears,’ were specifically designed for the border police as crowd dispersal tools. Another type of drone introduced against the Palestinians is the so-called ‘Shoko Drones,’ or skunk water drones, which bombard protesters with foul-smelling and very sticky liquid. After the deployment of drones was deemed “successful,” the army purchased “hundreds” of them, the activists write.
The Gaza border fence itself got its share of advertisement, the reports notes, quoting the CEO of its manufacturer, Magal Security Systems:
“Gaza has become a showroom for the company’s ‘smart fences,’ as customers appreciate that the products are battle-tested.”
The latest wave of Palestinian protests has been raging in Gaza since March 30. Clashes with the IDF led to over 100 Palestinian deaths. The UN General Assembly and numerous human rights watchdogs condemned Israel for the use of violence against the Palestinians.
Israel maintains a right to self-defense, while the IDF has repeatedly denied human rights violations during the Gaza protests. The army blames the Gaza-based group Hamas for inciting bloodshed at the border and accuses its members of using civilians as human shields during riots.
Numerous Injured At Massive ‘Palestinian Women for The Return’ Protest
Hundreds of women arrived at the Israeli-Gaza border on Tuesday to join the female version of the Great March of Return, denouncing Israeli occupation of the enclave. Many women took their children with them.
Some seventeen people were wounded by Israeli gunfire, according to AFP citing Gaza’s health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra.
More than 130 Palestinians have been killed, including children, and thousands injured during the three-month-long protest at the border. Nearly half of the deaths occurred amid intense violence on May 14, when the US moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem. Some relatives of the victims came to Tuesday’s rally.
“I came to finish the march that my daughter had started,” Rim Abu Irmana said as cited by AFP. The woman was holding a picture of her 15-year-old daughter, who was killed by Israeli gunfire during the deadly May protest.
This madness needs to end.