A new report by Israeli activists on the technology and weapons deployed by the Israeli army in repressing the Palestinian âGreat March of Return” protests charges that the Gaza Strip is seen as a âa lab and a showroomâ for the countryâs arms manufacturers.
The report was produced by Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and the organisationâs Hamushim project, which âworks to expose the true human price of the Israeli military industry and arms trade, as well as to mobilise actions against itâ.
According to CWP:
Israeli military operations in Gaza in the past decade have been especially profitable for the countryâs military industries.
âBoth private companies and the Israeli government alike use Gaza as an opportunity to test new weapons, technologies and methods to be marketed based on their new operational success.â
The report states that âthe Great March of Return provided an opportunity for Israel to present its advanced UAV technology in a new settingâ, adding that âIsrael has long been a major drone exporterâ.
In particular, âa new tear gas drone, âSea of Tearsâ, named after a famous hit song, was introduced. It has been reportedly designed specifically for use in Gaza.â
Israeli forcesâ âuse of drones fits into a worldwide patternâ, states CWP. âThough today aimed primarily against Palestinians, similar technology will likely be marketed and sold to oppress others worldwide.â
In addition to tear gas drones, the report examines the Israeli militaryâs use of UAVs âto fire at groups of Palestinians as they organised to defend themselves against Israeli aggressionâ.
âSuch reports are particularly noteworthy,â CWP states, because while the military âcontinues to deny its use of killer drones, it takes pride in the advancements of their ever-growing fleet of UAVsâ.
According to research by Hamushim, âthe weapon of choice in the Great March of Return was in fact the American Remington M24 rifle, which is known to shoot targets up to 800m away.â
In addition, âAmnesty International forensic pathologists and military experts also identified wounds caused by Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI) Tavor rifles, with 5.56mm caliber ammunition. Those bullets often leave exit wounds expanding up to 15 cm to inflict maximal tissue damage.â
In 2014, the report notes Eli Gold, an executive at IWI, told the Marker: âAfter every operation of the kind taking place in Gaza right now, we are seeing a big leap in the number of foreign customers. We market aggressively abroad as it is, but the IDFâs actions definitely effect our work.â
Meanwhile, Magal Security Systems âconstructed the fence surrounding Gaza to enforce the brutal siegeâ. In a Bloomberg interview published 11 April, Magalâs then-CEO Saar Koursh gushed:
Gaza has become a showroom for the companyâs âsmart fences,â as customers appreciate that the products are battle-tested.
The report concludes that the Israeli military âmade deliberate choices to kill and permanently injure considerable numbers of Palestinian civiliansâ, with the crackdown on the march also providing âthe military with a platform to introduce and showcase the use of drones as the strategic choice of the present and futureâ.