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Israel: companies sold weapons to China 'without permit'

Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on 14 February 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on 14 February 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Three Israeli weapons manufacturers have been indicted for selling arms to China without a permit in what is the latest example of the rogue behaviour of Israeli companies in the defence and security industry. The three were found to have exported cruise missiles to Beijing.

The companies were notified of the indictment yesterday by the Economic Department of the office of Israel's State Attorney. They are charged with committing security offences under the Defence Export Control Law and offences under the Anti-Money Laundering Law, and more.

Ephraim Menashe, the owner of Solar Sky, brokered the deal, according to the Jerusalem Post. It was mediated by Zion Gazit and Uri Shachar, who are owners of a security consultancy which deals in consultation and mediation between foreign investors and Israeli tech companies.

Menashe is also said to have recruited other people to produce cruise missiles and their parts that were to be exported to China. Apparently the suspects produced dozens of cruise missiles and performed several tests with them in Israeli-controlled territory, endangering human life, the State Attorney explained.

The missiles were transferred to China in a concealed manner and Menashe received millions of dollars in return. He disguised this money as part of his connections with a foreign company.

READ: UN slams Israel arms sales to Myanmar in Rohingya genocide report

With this revelation coming only months after the NSO scandal, the illegal sale of weapons to China is likely to raise further questions about the rogue behaviour of Israeli companies. Like the weapons manufacturers, the NSO Group is ostensibly a private firm. It sold spyware technology to some of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Following the infamous international scandal involving the hacking of some 50,000 phones using the NSO Group's Pegasus technology, the US placed the Israeli spyware firm on its trade blacklist last month.

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