Elbit Systems specializes in military electronics, surveillance systems, Unmanned Air Vehicles or “drones”, and security systems. In Palestine is provides Israel with equipment for its apartheid Wall in the West Bank and other weapons, particularly killer drones, used for war crimes in the attacks on Gaza and Lebanon.
Elbit sells its experience in ghettoizing and killing Palestinians as ‘field tested’ technology to repress other people. From the US-Mexico Wall and the militarization in Mexico to the repression of the Kashmiri people.
The campaign against Elbit Systems has been launched in 2007 by the Stop the Wall Campaign as part of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). In 2009, with the divestment of the Norwegian National Pension Fund from Elbit Systems, the campaign started to gain momentum.
Already in 2016, Elbit Systems’ CEO Bezhalel Machlis admitted: “I’m not saying it’s [the BDS movement] not a threat, but I think that altogether we can handle it.”
Because Elbit Systems participates in and aids Israeli war crimes and Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism, investors in and partners of the company are, by extension, accessories to Israel’s many violations of international law and human rights. Grassroots movements have campaigned for years to stop any ties with Elbit and several pension funds and financial institutions have pulled their investments from Elbit and some of Elbit’s deals have already collapsed.
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The Stop AXA Assistance to Israeli Apartheid Campaign targets the French multinational insurance giant AXA demanding it fully divests from Elbit Systems and the Israeli banks that finance Israel’s settlements and apartheid.
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Elbit Systems, Israel’s biggest military company, is built on the expertise of the Israeli Ministry of Defense Research Institute and profits greatly from supplying the Israeli military with a variety of equipment used to sustain Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people. The Israeli Ministry of Defence is Elbit’s biggest single customer.
Elbit Systems – the Wall Builder
Israel’s Apartheid Wall, which is crippling Palestinian communities by isolating them in walled-in ghettos in the West Bank, has provided a massive source of revenue for Elbit. Elbit Systems provides “intrusion detection systems” for the Wall, in particular around Jerusalem. Subsidiaries Elbit Electro-Optics (El-Op) and Elbit Security Systems supplied and incorporated LORROS surveillance cameras in the Ariel settlement section as well as around Ar Ram. One product made by Elbit Systems, “Torch”, is manufactured specifically for use on the Wall.
On June 9th 2004, the International Court of Justice ruling on the legal consequences of the Wall not only confirmed the illegality of the Wall under international law, but also insisted that all state parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are obligated “to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law” and thus “not render any aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by [the construction of the Wall]”. Thus, actors who aid Israel in the construction of the Wall are, by association, in breach of international law.
In 2013, Elbit installed its surveillance systems in the occupied Golan Heights to cut off the territory Israel holds occupied from the rest of Syria. The contract was worth more than $60 million. In 2015, Elbit started developing tunnel detection technology to be deployed around the Gaza Strip. Two years later, when Israel began building a new wall around Gaza, Elbit became the lead contractor for the “smart” components of this new wall, which includes a 130-feet-deep underground wall. Elbit Systems received the Israel Defense Award for the development of this system.
Elbit Systems also developed Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) that act as border surveillance systems operating alongside the wall. In 2008, a joint venture of Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled the Guardium UGV – a semi-autonomous, armed border patrol robot. The Israeli military has deployed the Guardium along the borders around the Gaza Strip and in the occupied Golan Heights. More recently, Elbit developed the Segev UGV – a Ford F-350 truck converted into an armored and armed vehicle which can be driven remotely or operate completely autonomously. The Israeli military began deploying the Segev in 2016.
In 2002, Elbit also started providing borders and checkpoints with biometric surveillanc. Israel contracted Elbit to design and implement the Rotem System for borders crossings, and was later contracted to add the Reut System for use at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza. The Rotem-Reut System includes methods for identifying people using biometric data and for querying all relevant databases, including those maintained by the Israeli police, prison service, and security services. This information is then used to determine whether to allow, deny, or arrest the person in question. The system was deployed in 2006 and has been operational ever since, with Elbit Systems serving as its main contractor.
Elbit Systems – Death from the Sky
Elbit is one of the world’s leading producer of drones, in particular so-called ‘killer drones’ that can carry bombs or can be armed with missiles. Elbit drones have been used in the wars and attacks against Gaza and Lebanon.
Elbit supplies 85% of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – drones – used by the Israeli army.
The Hermes drone can be armed with missiles, and Israel has used it extensively in its assassination program. The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reports that Israeli drone strikes killed at least 1941 people in Gaza alone between 2006 and 2014.
In addition to using Elbit’s drones as weapons, Israel routinely uses the Hermes and Skylark drones for target acquisition, surveillance, and intelligence gathering and surveillance of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Notably, the Israeli Army publicly admitted using the Skylark in “Operation Brother’s Keeper” in 2014. The drones facilitated daily night raids throughout the West Bank over eleven days which resulted in the arrest of about 350 Palestinians.
Elbit Systems produces munitions and integral components for all Israeli attack aircraft, including Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and F-35 fighter jets, Boeing’s F-15 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, and Bell’s Cobra attack helicopters.
Elbit – Ammunition for Apartheid
In 2018 Elbit completed the acquisition of IMI Systems, now a subsidiary of Elbit. IMI is one of the leading Israeli producers of munitions. Among its developments are the Delilah cruise missile, the MSOV air-to-ground cluster bomb, and the 500lb MPR-500 bomb, an advanced warhead compatible with Boeing’s JDAM guiding system. The MPR-500 is described by the company as a “super-smart” bomb that minimizes collateral damage. It was used operationally for the first time during Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza (“Operation Protective Edge”) and killed at least 28 civilians, including 18 children.
Elbit Systems’ 2018 acquisition of IMI Systems from the Israeli government involves the company in the forced displacement of Bedouin communities in the Naqab (Negev). IMI Systems’ facility was until then located Ramat HaSharon, the bustling area between Tel Aviv and Netaniya and complaints it was polluting the soil and groundwater of the adjacent neighborhoods have been growing. As a part of its acquisition of IM Systems, Elbit agreed to relocate the main production facility to the Naqab.
The designated location of the new facility, including a large weapon testing site, is in an area populated by five Palestinian Bedouin villages. The plan will lead to the forced displacement of some 5,000 people. In addition, according to Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations Adalah and Bimkom, the new facility will expose the remaining area residents – Palestinian Bedouins who have Israeli citizenship – to health, safety, and environmental risks, and will also impose severe building and development restrictions on the villages.
Elbit – Prohibited Weapons
Elbit manufactures several types of weapons that are banned or considered controversial under the laws of war because of their inability to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants – a core tenet of international humanitarian law. These include weaponized white phosphorus, cluster bombs, and flechette projectiles.
For more, you can check out the research by Who Profits and InvestiGate.
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