Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – According to statistics reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 2022 was predicted to be a record year for Israeli arms sales, with many countries raising their defence procurement budgets.
As the year end approaches, it’s become clear that Israeli arms manufactures have concluded more unprecedented deals which mean that three of them are responsible for two per cent of the total arms deals in the world. These companies — Elbit, Rafael and Aerospace Industries — remain on the list of the 100 largest exporters, recording three per cent growth in sales valued at $592 billion. The figure is expected to have increased dramatically in 2022 due to the Ukraine war.
Israeli arms deals fuel wars and armed conflicts around the world. The occupation state has boosted its profits at the expense of the lives of civilians killed because its deadly weapons often figure in human rights violations and war crimes. Israel sells arms to oppressive regimes in flagrant violation of international laws which call for such regimes to be boycotted.
Very few people in the Israeli military establishment know the details of these deals due to their sensitivity and possibly the desire of the buyers not to disclose the details because of domestic considerations. Nevertheless, the deals involve dozens, if not hundreds, of people within and beyond Israel and are supervised by military officials with extensive contacts and cooperation with other states, some of which have no diplomatic relations with the occupation state. These are not overnight deals; they take many months of patient discussions.
In some places, especially in Africa, military cooperation between those countries and Israel paves the way for weapons, skills and training to suppress political opponents and wage wars with neighbouring states.
The Israeli arms industry employs around 250,000 people, so it is an important employer. It is believed that its customers for arms are found in 130 countries with deals worth $9bn a year. According to Israeli military officials, 35 per cent of the state’s arms deals are with European countries and North America; two per cent are in Latin America; and 63 per cent are in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. The arms involved include robots, drones, command and control systems, radars, electronic equipment, missile and air defence products, manned aircraft and avionics and surveillance equipment, as well as intelligence and communication systems.
India is believed to be Israel’s largest customer, with arms deals valued at $15bn. Indeed, Israel is India’s second largest arms supplier after Russia.