Human rights study: 4 Israel firms in top 100 arms producers

Report includes criticism of IDF actions in Lebanon war.

By JONNY PAUL
October 8, 2006 01:51
3 minute read.
Human rights study: 4 Israel firms in top 100 arms producers

iaf planes 298 88 idf. (photo credit: IDF)

 
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There are four Israeli companies among the world's 100 leading arms manufacturers, according to a report published last week. The study, "Arms without Borders," was prepared by the Control Arms campaign in cooperation with Amnesty International, Oxfam International and the International Action Network on Small Arms. In a reference to Israel and other nations, the report says: "While the industrialized countries remain the world's major arms exporters, a growing number of companies in the developing world, backed by their governments, are gaining a significant share of the global arms market." It also adds five other nations - Brazil, India, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea - to the list of top arms manufacturers, saying: "The number of arms companies in the top 100 based in countries not previously considered as major exporters has more than doubled since 1990." The local firms on the list are Israel Aircraft Industries, Elbit, Rafael, and Israel Military Industries. According to the study, despite Israel's substantial domestic market, 66 percent of all weapons and weapons components manufactured in Israel are exported. It cites as an example a deal struck between Israel Military Industries and India's Ordnance Factories in 2004 to produce high-explosive projectiles and shells in India intended, according to one defense analyst, to "yield additional tens of millions of dollars in third country exports" and says Israel retains little if any control over the final destination of arms coproduced in India. The report acknowledges the right of Israel - and China, India, South Africa and South Korea - to compete in the global arms market, but says they have a duty to ensure that "their exports are consistent with their existing obligations under international law." According to Amnesty International many of the 190 Palestinians killed in 2005 were "killed unlawfully," some as a result of deliberate and reckless shooting, or attacks in densely populated areas. Again according to the report, helicopters, combat aircraft and air-to-surface missiles that are supplied to Israel, primarily by the US, often incorporate components from other countries and "have been used in the occupied territories, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries in apparent violation of international humanitarian law." The report says AH-64 Apache attack helicopters have been supplied to the IDF - as well as to the Egyptian, Greek, Saudi, UAE, Dutch, UK, Kuwaiti and Japanese militaries - and that the IAF has used the helicopter "in the occupied territories, and in the recent hostilities between the Israel Defense Forces and Hizbullah, in a number of actions that resulted in civilian casualties." To back this up, the report quotes Human Rights Watch's report "Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon," published in August. That report alleges that near Tyre, Lebanon, on July 23, "Munitions fired from an IAF Apache helicopter struck Zein Zabad's car just 40 meters from the Najem Hospital, wounding all nine persons inside." According to Human Rights Watch, "there is no evidence of Hizbullah military activity in the vicinity of the hospital at the time of the attack." In response, Bar-Ilan University Prof. Gerald Steinberg, editor of NGO Watch, said, "As analysts from NGO Monitor and elsewhere have demonstrated, these claims are not verifiable, and contradict clear evidence of heavy Hizbullah presence and use of vehicles for transporting missiles and armed personnel." "The quotes from HRW are clear examples of how this NGO's shoddy and unreliable 'research' on Israel is quoted, without questioning its credibility, thereby perpetuating the chain of disinformation." Last year, an NGO Monitor study on Human Rights Watch, which is active in anti-Israel boycott campaigns, reported disproportionate condemnations of Israel's security policies. According to the Control Arms report, although the British government says it has not supplied major weapons systems directly to Israel, British arms manufacturers provide components for Apaches - ranging from power-management systems and parts for the rotor to helmet-mounted displays for the gunship operators. Boeing also sources components from the Netherlands and Ireland, countries that should, according to the EU Code of Conduct, prohibit their export to Israel, Controls Arms said. However, the report continues, Israel has "obtained Apaches with components manufactured in these countries." Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, said in a statement, "Arms companies are global, yet arms regulations are not, and the result is the arming of abusive regimes. Europe and North America are supplying parts for human rights abusers to assemble at home." Nicola East, press officer at Amnesty International, said, "The report shows that despite current regional and national controls on arms transfers the global nature of the arms industry means that companies are able to circumvent regulations, the net result of which means that arms are still able to reach destinations where grave and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law occur. Control Arms argues that this problem requires a global solution.

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