Israel has recently signed the largest arms deal in its history with Germany, worth a staggering €4 billion. The occupation state will provide Germany, which is concerned about getting involved in the Russia-Ukraine war, with Hetz 3 systems to defend itself against Russian ballistic missiles. The deal sheds some light on the growing level and importance of Israeli arms sales.
As the war in Ukraine intensifies, the Israeli military is considering the armaments at play. More arms deals are being considered as Israel is monitoring the winds of war blowing across Eastern Europe and the spectre of a continental war looming on the horizon.
Many European countries have expressed interest in Israeli weapons, especially those which rely on surveillance satellites and other such technology along with artificial intelligence. Fear of a Russian attack has prompted them to stock up on so-called suicide drones of various sizes, precision and range. The Ukrainians have asked Israel to help to re-equip their armed forces.
Israel is also signing more arms deals with Arab countries and other governments around the world. The deals not only bring in huge sums in payment, but also provide opportunities to develop diplomatic, political and trade relations. All of this encourages the apartheid state to boost its own budget for arms development and manufacture. Indeed, arms production and export is now a major determinant factor in Israeli foreign policy. This has seen Israeli surveillance systems being in great demand to help curb the numbers of migrants seeking asylum in Europe.
The Israeli economy provides employment for 3.5 million people, of whom seven per cent work in the arms industries. Twenty per cent of these jobs are for scientists and engineers in advanced technical fields, infrastructure and industrial management; all are involved in large technological projects and weapons.
The occupation state exports arms to 130 countries spread across Asia and the Pacific Islands with 58 per cent of the total; Europe 21 per cent; North America 14 per cent; Africa five per cent; and Latin America two per cent. This reflects the fact that it has been investing in the industry for decades. There are no legal or other restrictions based on human rights when issuing licences to export weapons. As such, Israeli companies can export weapons and offensive technology to countries that commit flagrant violations of human rights and crimes against humanity, including Myanmar and South Sudan, for example, where other countries have imposed arms embargoes.
Some senior Israeli officials have been implicated in suspicious deals worth tens of millions of dollars to sell arms between Bulgaria and the Congo, which exposes the absence of meaningful oversight and accountability. It is no longer a secret that the Israeli military industries operate without supervision or transparency, which allows them to pursue deals in exchange for security, military and nuclear agreements, with the support of the US and the EU. At the same time, it is establishing semi-normal relations with oppressive and extreme right-wing regimes in Eastern Europe and Africa. There are more and more accusations that the Israeli government is supplying arms to countries which commit war crimes, but so does Israel, so why should Netanyahu and his far-right cronies have any conscience about that? They are content to deal in death and destruction by exporting arms to the world.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.