Military equipment: Producing the killer drones
As one of the primary suppliers of Israel’s military, navy, and airforce technology and equipment, Elbit has profited greatly from Israel’s many attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese people.
Elbit designs and supplies integrated UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) for a range of applications. It is also applying the UAS technology to unmanned ground vehicles and marine vessel activities (see here and here).
Drones from the larger Hermes models can reportedly be outfitted with two missiles, and in addition to their use for scouting and tracking targets, they were used in some of the more horrific incidents in the 2006 war on Lebanon and the 2008-2009 attack on Gaza. In the 23-day assault on Gaza, missiles fired from drones were directly attributed to the killing of 78 Palestinians, including 29 children, and wounding 73 others (see here and here). The Hermes has sensors so precise that they enable a drone operator to read a license plate number and determine whether a person on the ground is armed. Infrared sensors provide imaging by day and night. This makes the killing of civilians all the more troubling.
The use of Israeli drones for targeted killings with Elbit’s Hermes drones has been condemned by Human Rights Watch and has prompted Amnesty International to call for a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel. The continuous use of Israeli drones over Gaza’s airspace has been described in the Goldstone Report (page 85) as one of the elements of the Gaza blockade, conforming the report’s legal opinion that Israel remains the occupying power over Gaza.
Elbit sells its drones to a good number of countries including the US, where they have been used for surveillance by the Border Patrol in the Arizona/Mexico border.
Additionally, other countries, including the United States, use drones for surveillance and targeted killings, with equally horrific results as Israel–and we condemn the use of drones there as well. The Brookings Institute estimates that in Pakistan, for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died. The the New America Foundation, found that since 2004, some 32% of those killed in Pakistan by drone strikes were civilians. We join the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in condemning drone attacks wherever they occur. But we clearly state that the fact that other countries use drones is no reason to exempt Israel from scrutiny.
Elbit and its subsidiaries manufacture some of the surveillance equipment on the Apartheid Wall (Lorros surveillance cameras, unmanned ground vehicles, and the TORCH surveillance system). The construction of the wall in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, has been declared illegal by the international Court of Justice.
Having tested its technology on the Apartheid Wall, Elbit is now exporting it to the United States through its American subsidiary, Kollsman, Inc.
Much as the Apartheid Wall separates Palestinians and grabs Palestinian land, the US-Mexico wall has also been accused of dividing indigenous populations and arbitrarily grab the land of the poor in the United States.
A few weeks later, this move cost Palestinian activist Mohammad Ohman his freedom. He was was arrested by Israeli soldiers as he was legally crossing the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was coming back from a trip to Norway where he met with senior officials, including Norwegian Finance Minister Kristen Halvorsen (see here and here). Mohammad was imprisoned on September 22, 2009, and was only released in January, after Amnesty International had declared him a prisoner of conscience.
Less than a year later, the Swedish national pension fund divested from Elbit as well. Additional financial institutions have divested as well, among them: Kommunal Landspensjonkasse (one of the largest life insurance companies in Norway), Danske Bank (the largest bank in Denmark), PKA Ltd. (one of the largest Danish pension funds) (see here.)
Where is Elbit?
- The company is headquartered in Haifa, Israel.
- Elbit also owns several companies in the United States through its American subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America (ESA),30 located at 4700 Marine Creek Parkway Fort Worth, TX 76179-6969 Phone: 817-234-6799 A few of these are:
- Kollsman, 220 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, NH 03054, Phone: 603-889-2500
- Vision Systems International LLC (VSI) , 641 River Oaks Parkway, San Jose, CA 95134, USA, Phone: 408-232-5300
- International Enterprises, Inc., 108 Allen St, Talladega, AL 35160, Phone: 256-362-8562
- C4I Solutions, 1721 W. Paul Dirac Drive Tallahassee, FL 32310, Phone: 850-350-8444
- Innovative Concepts, Inc., 8200 Greensboro Drive, Suite 700, McLean, VA 22102, Phone: 703-893-2007
Fact sheet: Boycott Elbit Systems!, StoptheWall
Drone Wars, Fellowship of Reconciliation
War Profiteer of the Month: Elbit Systems, War Resisters’ International, Feb 17, 2010
Ni’lin and Bil’in call on world to stop Elbit, CRH and Magal from building the Wall, Apr 4, 2010
The Wall, Elbit and TIAA-CREF: Barriers to Resource Rights in Palestine, Grassroots International.