Archive for category Palestine
Israel has created a high tech, digitised ‘command and control’ network to defend its borders and maintain its control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Elbit Systems is the prime contractor for Israel’s ‘DAP’ system (Tzayad Digital Army Programme). DAP is a 10 year,$500 million programme funded by Israeli taxes and American subsidies. First launched in 2004 DAP has been deployed in the West Bank, Gaza, and along the Lebanon border.
Elbit calls DAP its ‘master programme for computerising all land force operations’.
It appears that the primary Elbit divisions working on DAP are Elbit Systems Land, and C4I Tadiran.
DAP links all levels and locations of the Israeli army into a single, secure system. (C4I)
DAP is being designed to deal with High Intensity Conflict (war) and Low Intensity Conflict (border defense, fighting insurgents, and ‘occupation duties’ in the occupied territories-ed).
It appears that one of the functions of DAP is to link soldiers and commanders in with the system of sensors arrayed on the ‘separation barrier’ (apartheid wall) and along the border, using the ‘TORC2H’ system.
In 2010, Elbit Systems got a $298 million contract to the apply its DAP related technology to the Australian armed Forces. According to Australia Defense Magazine, the Elbit bid had the advantage that had been proven in service with the Israeli Defence Force.
(Thus, it appears the Australian government has made this contract because Elbit’s technology has had action with the Israeli military. Surely a motivator for the Israeli arms industry to continue to promote armed conflict with neighbours and the Palestinians. The Israeli military, government, and arms industry are closely interlinked. Many cabinet ministers become arms company officials, many arms company officials are former army officers and are still in the reserves).
Pratt and Whitney Canada has a long standing relationship with the Israeli Air Force. Pratt and Whitney Canada is part of a global concern Pratt and Whitney Ltd that is based in Hartford Connecticut. The global company maintains manufacturing facilities around the world, including in Israel.
The Pratt and Whitney (Canada) PT6A is used in Israel’s new Eitan drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle the size of a jet liner that was used for surveillance in the recent Cast Lead attacks on the Gaza Strip, and is said to be capable of spying on, or even attacking Iran.
Pratt and Whitney Canada also supplied the Israeli Air Force with PT6A turboprop engines for IAI Arava STOL aircraft, in an association that went back as far as 1980.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A (-27 thru -42, -50), PT6T (series), are listed as exports to Israel by Israeli ‘Homeland Security’.
IAI also used Pratt and Whitney Canada PW-306A turbo fan engines in its Galaxy corporate jets in the 1990’s.
In December 2010, Canada’s Industry minister, Tony Clement announced that Canada would be investing $1 Billion Canadian in a Pratt and Whitney Canada project to make a lighter aircraft engine, in a move said to preserve jobs at Pratt and Whitney’s Longeuil, PQ facility, in Lethbridge, AB, and in Mississaugua, ON. Since the research will almost certainly be to improve the Pratt and Whitney Canada mainstay PT 6 engine, can we expect that this will directly benefit future production of Israel’s Eitan drones?
Bet Shemesh Engines Ltd. of Israel advertises that it does casting for Pratt and Whitney Canada’s PW306 and PW307 engines, either at its facilities in Bet Shemesh Israel, or in Serbia. As in many Israeli companies producing arms related items, some of the prinicipal officers are high ranking officers in the Israeli military. Bet Shemesh CEO Avner Shacham owns about 25% of Bet Shemesh, and is a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves of the Israeli army.
Bet Shemesh is an Israeli town about 20 km west of Jerusalem. It is the site of the former Arab Palestinian village of Beit Natif, and has been a hotbed of support for the Likud Party. The Arab Palestinians were ‘ethnically cleansed’ and are now refugees who cannot return to their homes in Beit Natif. They and their descendants live mostly in refugee camps under occupation in the Bethlehem district.
In July 2009, Israel purchased 20 T-6 Beechcraft aircraft trainers, powered by Pratt and Whitney Canada’s PW6A turbo prop engines.
It has been reported that Elbit Systems intends to take over Mikal, the company controlling Soltam inc, Israeli producer of artillery and armour, among other products. Elbit already has a stake in Mikal.
Like Elbit, Soltam has deep connections in the IDF.
Mikal companies are export oriented and focus on NATO compliant military hardware and military systems.
Mikal subsidiary Global CST capitalises on the experience of Israeli ‘security’ forces and the IDF in maintaining the occupation of Palestine to sell security services abroad. The company sells SWAT team technology and riot control technology based on experience gained in Palestine.
The UK government seems to be embarrassed by its Israeli connections.
While it seemed able to handle the hypocrisy of consistently voting against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza while inviting Israel to arm the MOD, the 2008-09 attacks on Gaza made military links with Israel potentially damaging with the electorate.
Not only has it been exceptionally quiet about the successful testing of its new premiere drone system, but other indications are that it is embarrassed to be associated with the Israeli military machine.
Despite the fact that Watchkeeper is being provided by U-TacS, which is owned 51% by Elbit Systems of Israel, and 49% by Thales of France, Thales is at pains to take credit for many of the operations associated with the contract. Does this mean that Thales is making it easier for the government, by not bringing up the Israeli connection?
Even before the attacks on Gaza there are indications of the Government’s discomfort with how its association with Israeli arms companies was ‘seen’ by the public.
In 2008 Haaretz reported that the British government had cancelled a series of tests that Elbit Systems had planned to carry out for the Watchkeeper drone at the Golan Piq Airfield, in the occupied Golan Heights. Many of Elbit’s drone testing activities are carried out there.
It said that Elbit later had got permission from the Airports Authority to carry out the trials at neary Rosh Pina airport, despite concerns by residents for safety of residents and the environment. It did not report the concerns of Arab and Druze residents of the Golan Heights over ongoing drone testing by Elbit in the Golan Heights.
Haaretz reported the British statement :
“It is the long held position of the U.K. Government that the Golan Heights is occupied territory. In this context the U.K. Defense Ministry would consider it inappropriate to use the facilities at the Golan Heights as part of the Watchkeeper program.”
Yet if the UK had qualms about paying 850 million pounds to an Israeli arms company integrally linked to the occupation of the Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza, it seems not to have made them public. It was apparently acceptable to deal with a company actively testing its products in occupied territory and occupied airspace so long as Britain’s name was kept at a distance.
The sponsor of the conference is Simlat, an Israeli simulation company based in Herzliya, Israel, near Tel Aviv. Simlat is also participiating in the 2010 AUVSI Israel First Conference, to be held 6 October in Beer-Sheeva, Israel.
Simlat has produced simulators for Elbit Systems 450, for Aegis (which Aegis?) , for United Dynamics and others.
Presumably the training simulation technology developed for Elbit Systems, also works for the UK Watchkeeper system. Thus Simlat is positioned to provide training for Watchkeeper operators, (including when Watchkeeper becomes an armed system?)
Chairman of the Board at Simlat is Moshe Ortasse, former head of the electronics division at Israel Aircraft Industries. Cofounder Yuval Peshin, President, is an engineer and former intelligence officer for the IDF. Also on the board is Mati Lesham, a former general in the IDF. Yoram Hessel, another board member, is a former high ranking Mossad official. The final member of the board, Boaz Gruener, was a major of the Israeli intelligence corps.
Hessel has a wide range of other involvements, including the Law Enforcement Exchange Program, which takes US police to Israel to demonstrate Israel law enforcement, (and presumably develop bonds between American police and the Israeli police). Hessel is extremely active in promoting the Israeli perspective among international decision makers.
It is always surprising how companies based in a country conducting an illegal occupation, policies of ethnic cleansing, and in violation of many UN directives can be so closely ingratiated into the military affairs of the western democracies.
Simlat recently advertised its desire to raise $2 million on the website of canadaisraelchamber.com claiming a large UAV/UAS market in Canada, and therefore presumably a market for simulation training services.
Elbit Systems is important to people in the UK because it is an important contractor for the UK Watchkeeper drone system. Elbit is also involved in providing ‘security’ to many agencies in Israel, including those that protect the ‘apartheid wall’, and protect numerous illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Elbit is involved in Israeli security primarily through Elbit Security, and Elbit Electro Optics (some products). Elbit Systems also supplied UAV’s during combat in both Gaza and the West Bank, according to ‘Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry‘ website. The same website suggests that Elbit has been building and unmanned ground vehicle for patrolling the ‘seamline’, along with Controp Precision Technologies, and Tomcar. They list the major shareholders of Elbit as the Federman family, (since 2004) through the Federman Group. (See end of article for more on the Federman Group)
More than one director of Elbit Systems, have been high ranking officers in the Israeli military, including Gideon Sheffer, executive officer, and Nathan Sharony(74), who retired as a Major General after 30 years in the IDF. Sharony is a well connected high flyer. Sharony is a member of the Council for Peace and Security, (composed mostly of retired military) which supports a Palestinians state in the West Bank and Gaza, but which opposes most other Palestinian demands.
Elbit Electro Optics (El-op) provided LORRO surveillance cameras for the Ariel section of the wall, and the A-ram section.
The Federman Group is composed of David Federman, his brother and his father, Michael Federman. David Federman(bio) has a B.A. from Tel Aviv University, and is a Captain in the Reserve of the Israeli Air Force. Along with another company Federman Group recently bought controlling interest in Haifa Oil Refineries. They appear to be involved in many other companies, including Carmel Olefins, Elite Industries, etc. Here’s an article discussing more of David Federman’s business affairs.
Watchkeeper is a new drone system being build by the UK, based on the Elbit Systems (Israel) Hermes 450 drone. The Prime contractor for Watchkeeper is Thales UK, which awarded a contract for a large part of the program to U-TacS, 51% owned by Elbit Systems.(The other 49% of UTacS is owned by Thales). U-TacS is more formally known as UAV Tactical Systems Ltd., of Scudamore Road, Leicester, UK.
A core plank of Elbit Systems social responsibility charter is ‘adopt a regiment’, also support for Zionism 2000. The social responsibility report contains a list of Elbit directors and management, with short biographies.
In an article 3 November, 2009, the UK announced that it may develop armed drone technology, quite possibly on its Watchkeeper drones, which are based on the Israeli Hermes 450 drone (battle tested in Palestine). The UK has spent £800 million to buy this technology from an Israeli company and its partners.
Click on ‘Watchkeeper’ on list to the right for more info.
more to follow…
Canada has developed a close security arrangement with Israel, developing the Canada Israel Security Agreement, under the shepherding of Public Security Minister Stockwell Day. This agreement was completed and signed during a visit to Israel and the occupied territories by Day in 2007.
It is curious that this agreement was necessary, because it doesn’t seem to have been necessary to have such a broad reaching agreement before that. The agreement is said by Michel Chossudovsky to be modelled on the agreement negotiated between US Homeland Security and the Israeli government. Indeed, Chossudovsky noted that the agreement was signed in Israel at the same time that VP Cheney and other US public security officials were in Israel, leaving the likelihood that the Canadian delegation simply followed the American model.
It appears that the agreement is simply part of a broad policy of Conservative government to provide even more support for the Israeli government, and falling in line with US policy, even while claiming to favour peace and the end of settlements. How can Canada claim to pressure Israel to stop the settlement building process and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland while meanwhile increasing support and cooperation with one of the institutions used by Israel to repress Palesinians?
Why does Canada need a public security agreement with Israel, a country with which it share no common borders? Does Canada have similar agreements with other small countries?
What other agreements are there?
For example, the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement. Note: Does the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement allow Israel to sell to Canada goods manufactured in the West Bank in settler communities?
Is this part of a broader Canadian policy to support Israel, for example by buying Israeli military hardware?
Dan Williams, writing in Reuters Alertnet, hinted at one of the possible reasons why Israel is prepared to attack its adversaries with such force.
(Israel is one of the top ten arms companies in the world by sales. Arms sales are extremely important to Israel’s balance of payments and provides employment to thousands of Israelis. Furthermore the Israeli political elite, top soldiers and arms company traders and executives are in a revolving door relationship–ed)
In 2006, Israel sold $4 billion in arms, accounting for 10% of arms sales in the world, and in fourth place behind the US, Russia, and France.
The sale of weapons depends very strongly on the perception that these weapons are effective.
“Defense News quoted Israeli security experts as attributing many of the new contracts to Israel’s perceived successes in battling Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip” Quoting Rachel Naidek Ashkenazi, spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, from the Defense News article: “We expect the pattern of increased sales to continue, unaffected by the recent campaign in Lebanon. Clients are prudent. They know they can trust battle-proven experience, and they go to the trouble of finding out the facts.”
So, are arms companies in Israel, and their friends in government and the IDF, cynically attacking Palestinians in order to bolster their international arms sales? Is it part of the equation? Clearly the spokes person for the Israeli Ministry of Defense thinks so.
It was predicted that Israeli arms sales would go down after its attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza strip, but in fact arms sales have remained steady or increased, showing that many governments cynically claim to abhor the human rights abuses of the Israeli government while standing in line to buy their battle proven armaments.