Edition: 09 – November, 2008
Unilever to sell stake in plant based in West Bank settlement
The food and soap manufacturing multinational Unilever has announced that it will divest from an Israeli factory in Ariel settlement, which is illegally built on land confiscated from Palestinians.
In this latest instance of corporations cutting their ties with Israeli settlement businesses, Unilever will sell its 51% stake in the Beigel & Beigel factory in Ariel. Other multinational corporations who have taken similar actions are: Swedish company Assa Abloy, which removed its Mul-T-Lock factory in the Barkan settlement; the Barkan Winery company, which divested from its branch on the Barkan Industrial Park after entering a partnership with the Dutch beer manufacturer, Heineken; and Harrodâs department store, which cleared its shelves of Beigel & Beigel products in August. These instances are positive examples of corporations responding to pressure from civil society, but at the same time, it is important not to be satisfied merely with divestment from settlement products. Instead, the focus must be on a comprehensive boycott of all Israeli products and divestment from its corporations.
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Israel angered over British plan to label produce from Israeli settlements
A diplomatic row is emerging over a British plan to label vegetables grown on illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli officials fear that this plan could be used to launch a consumer boycott in the UK and other EU countries, and Tzipi Livni, leader of the Kadima party, argued that it is the equivalent of a vote by universities in Britain to ban Israeli academics from speaking engagements. [MORE]
US firm KUD International to develop technology park in Beersheva
The recently-signed $250 million construction deal is for KUD to develop Advanced Technologies Park at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, in cooperation with Israeli partners.
In the first joint project of its kind in Israel, Israeli engineers and architects will work together with American ones in an Israeli office to plan the construction of the park. When completed, Advanced Technologies Park will be over 1 million square feet in size, one third of which will be used for research and development by the IDF. [MORE]
HP joins project to support Israeli start-up companies
Hewlett-Packard has joined ten other multinational corporations, including IBM, Microsoft, Coca Cola and the Renault Nissan Alliance in the Office of the Chief Scientistâs industrial cooperation program.
Under the agreement with the Chief Scientist, HP will provide certain benefits to participating Israeli companies, including the appointment of designated contact persons, sales, marketing and business development resources, help in writing business plans, consultancy services, technical aid and support with HP-made infrastructures, and participation in global cooperation programs. The overall aim of the program is to offer a new way of globalization for Israeli start-ups, to help them compete in the global economy. [MORE]
Wave energy co SDE wins deal in Africa
Wave power company SDE Energy and Desalination Ltd. has obtained a 25-year franchise from a Muslim country in Africa to build a 100-megawatt ocean wave-driven power station at an investment of $100 million. The company expects $1 billion revenue over the franchise period. [MORE]
NICE Systems wins multi-million dollar order from Miami Dade Police Department
NICY Systems won a multi-million dollar contract from the Miami-Dade Police Department for the company’s NICE Inform and other products for the management of emergency communications. The solutions will be installed at four Miami-Dade County emergency communication sites, including a new state-of-the-art communications centre due to open in 2009.
The police department serves both the City of Miami and unincorporated areas of the county, including law enforcement responsibility of the city’s international airport. These areas already use NICE video surveillance technology. [MORE]
Ceragon wins million dollar deal, establishes two new offices in Africa
In a move described by the corporation as âexpanding its footprint in Africa,â wireless backhaul solutions provider Ceragon Networks Ltd. announced a $1.5 million order in Africa, and reported it would open new offices in Nigeria and South Africa. The deal it signed was for its high-capacity trunk solution, FibeAir 3200, which will be deployed in Africa by a leading international carrier. [MORE]
Indian firm Reliance signs agreement with Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company
Indian energy giant Reliance Industries Ltd. signed an agreement with the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company Ltd. (EAPC) for the storage of fuel at EAPCâs terminal in Ashkelon. Reliance, which owns refineries and gas stations across India, is looking at the option of exporting refined products to Europe via Israel and the Mediterranean Basin. Fuel market sources believe that part of the inventory that Reliance is to store in Ashkelon could also be marketed locally. [MORE]
Strauss Group to build new Sabra plant in Virginia
Sabra Dipping Company, a joint venture between Strauss Group and PepsiCo., will open a new $61 million plant in Virginia to increase its production of hummus and other Middle Eastern dips and spreads. The facility is slated to open in mid-2010. [MORE]
MILITARY AND ARMS TRADE NEWS
UN contemplates purchase of defence systems from Israel
According to Ynet news, the UN is considering purchasing Israeli defence systems, specifically drones (mini remote-piloted vehicles), airborne electronics systems and intelligence gathering systems.
The fact that the United Nations is considering an arms deal with Israel is disgraceful, and flies in the face of all UN conventions and resolutions that condemn Israel for its ongoing occupation of Palestine and violations of Palestinian rights. The very reason why Israel is an industry leader in the defence sector is that it tests its latest developments on the Palestinian people, and it thrives on inventing new and innovative ways of repressing and controlling them on a massive scale. Merely by engaging in negotiations with Israel with regards to defence systems, therefore, the UN is enabling and legitimizing the Israeli defence industry. Rather than doing business with the occupying power and thereby becoming complicit in its war crimes, the UN should be boycotting Israel and taking action to end the siege of Gaza, the occupation of the West Bank, and the denial of the Palestinian right to self determination. [MORE]
Lockheed, Israel near deal on F-35 jets
Lockheed Martin is lobbying Israel to close a deal for its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. US officials have projected a deal for the jets, which cost $40 million apiece, to be clinched early in 2009. Funding for the jets would come mainly from US defence grants to Israel, which will total $30 billion between 2007 and 2017. [MORE]
Israel, Germany collaborate to develop nuclear missile detection system
Israel and Germany have worked in secret to jointly develop a nuclear missile detection system code-named Project Bluebird. It is designed to identify nuclear missiles amidst a cluster of decoy missiles.
According to Defense News, Project Bluebirdâs infrared sensor has already been tested aboard a business jet. [MORE]
NATO, Israel boost anti-terror cooperation
NATO and Israel recently agreed to boost their cooperation in âthe fight against terrorism,â and also to increase military ties. The agreement updates and reinforces the individual programme of cooperation, signed by the two parties in October 2006, and involves an upgrade of intelligence exchanges and the expansion of joint military manoeuvres. [MORE]
Indiaâs Astra Microwave wins $11.5 million order from Israelâs ELTA Systems
The contract is effective from November 2008 to mid-2010, and it is for ELTA to supply microwave wireless sub-systems for Indiaâs defence radar program. [MORE]
Elbit wins deal in Brazilian Air Force jet upgrade project
Elbit Systems will collaborate with its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary, Aeroelectronics S.A., to implement the $187.5 million contract that is scheduled to be completed through 2014.
Elbit and its subsidiaries will supply the central battle mission computer for the Brazilian Air Forceâs AMX jet, as well as its display systems, ammunition management system, electronic warfare system and additional systems. [MORE]
NICE Systems wins record contract to provide security solutions for unnamed EMEA government agency
NICE Systems won its highest ever contract, valued at over $20 million, to implement a large-scale security project for an unnamed EMEA government agency which is a current client. The project will be implemented over the next year and a half.
The government agency will deploy NICE security technologies, which will all be integrated to provide the fullest picture of the cityâs security status at any given moment and from a large number of possible angles. NICE will provide IP-based video surveillance with content analytics, license plate recognition and face capture, GPS-based video terminals, and mobile video sensors. Security personnel at the command and control center will use the NICE Inform multi-media command and control solution. [MORE]
Elbit Systems buys US firm Innovative Concepts
Elbit Systems of America, the US subsidy of Elbit Systems Ltd. recently purchased all of the shares of Innovative Concepts, Inc., from Herley, in an all-cash transaction valued at $15 million.
Innovative Concepts is a wireless communications technology firm specializing in design, production and support of real-time embedded systems and high-speed processing solutions for defense and homeland security applications. It will become part of Elbit Systems of Americaâs C4I Solutions business, and the acquisition is part of the companyâs strategy to provide advanced C4I systems solutions to the United States Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. [MORE]
Prequalification tender published for IDF training base city
The Israeli Ministry of Defense published the prequalification (PQ) tender for the construction of the IDF training base city. Bidders in the PQ stage will have to present information on planning, construction, financing, and operational and maintenance capabilities. Construction of the training base city is estimated at NIS 2-3 billion, and the value of the maintenance contract is estimated to be worth a similar amount.
Lev Levievâs company, Africa-Israel Investments Ltd., is one of the three corporations to have purchased tender documents. [MORE]
BVR Systems awarded naval embedded simulation contract
BVR Systems announced the award of a $1.4 million contract for the upgrade of its distributed naval embedded training system to an undisclosed international customer. The upgrade of the system includes an update of the system to new sensors and weapons. [MORE]
Elbit to supply live training system to Asian country
Elbit has won a $10 million contract from an Asian country to supply a âLive Training Systemâ that combines virtual and actual forces. The new system is designed to train a brigade combat team including infantry forces, armored forces, and support forces (artillery and air defense). It will be delivered sometime in 2010. [MORE]
Elbit subsidiary wins airborne surveillance system contract for European country
Elisra Group, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, has won a two year, $60 million contract to supply an airborne surveillance system to a country in Europe. [MORE]
FREE TRADE AND GOVERNMENT AGREEMENTS
No to the EU-Israel Association Agreement!
Early this week, the European Union Parliament announced that it had moved its vote on the EU-Israeli Association Agreement up to December 4. Originally, the EU had stated that the vote on this issue â which would enable far greater Israeli participation in European Community programs â would not take place until 2009.
After a massive international campaign against the Agreement, however, the EU Parliament announced that it would postpone the vote until 2009, as was the original plan. This is another example of the strength and effectiveness of a mobilized international civil society. Now, the task is to keep the pressure up, to try and ensure that when the vote does occur, the Association Agreement will be suspended until Israel ends its violations of Palestinian human rights and complies with its obligations under international law. [MORE]
Egyptian court freezes natural gas exports to Israel
An Egyptian court has ordered a freeze in exporting the countryâs natural gas to Israel, stating that the controversial deal with Israel was improperly awarded because it was not approved by Parliament.
The decision comes in the wake of the revelation that Egypt sells its natural gas to Israel at a lower price than that of the world market, causing Egypt to lose $9 million each day. Despite the court order, the government said it would appeal the decision, and officials in Cairo and Israel said gas would continue to flow. [MORE], [MORE] and [MORE]
Israel, Mexico sign amended free trade agreement
The amendment to the agreement allows for goods originating in Israel or Mexico to undergo minimal processing or storage in a third country, and still retain duty-free status. [MORE]