Swiss parliament approves purchase of Israeli drones despite opposition

September 8, 2015 12:58


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The Swiss parliament approved the purchase of six Israeli surveillance drones on Monday despite opposition from activists who said the move constitutes an investment in  "systematic human rights abuses" against the Palestinians, AFP reported.

The deal with Israel's Elbit Systems for the purchase of six unarmed Hermes 900 drones is said to be worth $256 million.

The plan to buy the drones was approved 30-12 by Switzerland's upper house of parliament, after already having passed the lower house.

AFP quoted Socialist Party representative Geraldine Savary, who spoke on behalf of those who opposed the deal, as arguing that parliament should not authorize the deal because Israel used Hermes 900 drones during last summer's Operation Protective Edge, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip.

Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer said that the country was not buying the drones from Israel, but rather from Elbit, a private firm. He added that the Swiss have no prohibition on importing military equipment, which in this case will be used for monitoring the Swiss border.

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