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NATO awards new contract to Israel firm accused of war crimes

Elbit Systems, Israeli surveillance software [Tangopaso/Wikipedia]

NATO has awarded Israel’s largest arms producer, Elbit System, a new contract. The successful $46 million bid was announced by Elbit System today and will see the arms producer supplying additional direct infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) self-protection systems to NATO for its Airbus A330 tankers.

The contract will be carried out over four years and is said to be similar to several previous awards from global air forces and other customers. Elbit Systems will equip NATO’s Airbus A330, which is used as an aerial refuelling tanker.

With the reputation of being the backbone of Israel’s arms industry, Elbit Systems has been the focus of campaigns by human rights groups around the world. The company played a major role during Israel’s 2014 military assault on Gaza, which led to the death of more than 2,168 Palestinians, including over 500 children.

Critics say Israel’s military companies such as Elbit Systems are complicit in war crimes and are enablers and beneficiaries of Israel’s militarism, violence and oppression of the Palestinian people.

Read: UK protest shuts ‘backbone’ of Israeli drone factory

According to Andrew Smith from the Campaign Against Arms Trade: “Elbit has armed oppressive regimes around the world, and been utterly complicit in the occupation of Palestine.”

Remonstrating over the new deal, the campaigner told MEMO that “this is yet another militaristic step from NATO and will mean huge profits for one of the most disgraceful arms companies in the world.”

Campaigners say Elbit Systems makes enormous profit from Israel’s occupation and human suffering. Elbit system is described by the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) as part of “the infrastructure of apartheid”.

Campaigners also claim that Israel’s biggest export is effectively knowledge and technology of suppression. The occupation of Palestine is said to provide a political and financial boon for the Zionist state; allowing it to sell the idea of “full spectrum security” to the rest of the world at a time when autocrats and tyrants all across the globe are desperate for similar technologies to deploy against restive populations at a time of global unrest.

Controversy over Elbit Systems role in the brutal suppression of six million people forced a number of countries to cancel contracts with the Israeli weapons exporter. The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul cancelled a major collaboration deal with Elbit Systems in the wake of protests over the firm’s role in oppression of Palestinians.

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