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Gaza genocide fuels Israel's boom in 'battle-tested' weapons industry

June 12, 2024 at 1:20 pm

Israeli attacks on Gaza and the movement of tanks along the border continue on May 30, 2024 in Israel [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s genocidal campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip has become a lucrative marketing tool for the country’s thriving start-up scene. Despite widespread calls for divestment from Israel across college campuses, Israeli start-ups raised over $1 billion in funding in May for the second consecutive month, with many of these companies participating directly in the conflict, MintPress News has revealed.

Experts cited in the report explained that the deployment of advanced weaponry, such as suicide drones, smart guns and robot dogs, since October last year has not only wreaked devastation on Gaza and its people, but has also served as a homegrown weapons-testing laboratory for Israeli companies.

The allure of “battle-tested” technology has attracted buyers from around the world, even as these weapons are being used to carry out violations of international law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, human rights and international law professor at Queen Mary University of London Neve Gordon is reported saying. “This industry is in the business of killing. So what we find appalling, they find exciting.”

Israel’s defence industry is bolstered by the government’s substantial investment in start-ups and technology, as well as the revolving door relationship between its military, tech and education sectors. Jeff Halper, author of War Against the People, warns that the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement should target Israeli defence tech start-ups as they often operate “more or less under the radar.”

The report cites several start-ups whose products are being used in Israel’s war on Gaza:

  • XTEND, known for its Wolverine combat drone, which has been used to drop grenades, survey tunnels and attack Palestinians in Gaza;
  • SmartShooter, which developed the Smash system that utilises “smart sight” to track moving targets precisely in Gaza;
  • InfiniDome, which produces GPS protection and navigation systems for drones patrolling the nominal Gaza border;
  • D-Fend Solutions, which provides counter-drone technology to disrupt drones sent by Hamas and Hezbollah; and
  • SPEAR UAV, which developed the Viper suicide drone designed to locate, track and attack targets by crashing into them and self-destructing.

Other start-ups mentioned in the report are Axon Vision, whose AI camper system, Edge360, is installed in armoured vehicles in Gaza to assist soldiers in detecting threats and making decisions on the ground; Steadicopter, whose Black Eagle unmanned robot helicopter is being used for intelligence gathering in Gaza; and NextVision, which manufactures cameras for weapons systems, specifically on drones made by Israel’s top arms companies, all of which are used in Israel’s assault on Gaza.

The report also highlights Asio Technologies, whose AI navigation systems, such as the Orion platform and AeroGuardian NOCTA optical navigation system, are being used by soldiers in Gaza; Robotican, which jointly developed the Rooster drone with the Israeli Defence Ministry, attached to Vision 60 robot dogs made by the Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics and used to carry out surveillance of buildings and tunnels inside Gaza; and Corsight, which uses AI facial recognition technology to collect information about Palestinians in Gaza, creating a database of individuals without their knowledge or consent.

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