Exporting the occupation: Israel markets its drone expertise to the world

Jefferson Morley looks into “Israel’s drone dominance” for Salon:

Stark Aerospace of Mississippi is perhaps the only foreign-owned company with FAA permission to fly a drone in U.S. airspace. Based in the town of Columbus, the home of Mississippi State University, Stark is a subsidiary of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries — not that you could tell from looking at the company’s website, executive leadership or affiliations. You have to go to the Mississippi secretary of state website to learn that two of Stark’s three directors are Israelis.

So too with the America’s drone industry. The Israeli influence is not visible but it is real, documented and extremely relevant to the future of drones in America. If you want to know how drones may change American airspace in coming years, just look to Israel, where the unmanned aerial vehicle market is thriving and drones are considered a reliable instrument of “homeland security.”

“There are three explanations for Israel’s success in becoming a world leader in development and production of UAVs,” a top Israeli official explained to the Jerusalem Post last year. “We have unbelievable people and innovation, combat experience that helps us understand what we need and immediate operational use since we are always in a conflict which allows us to perfect our systems.”

Israel’s drone expertise goes back to at least 1970, according to the UAV page of the Israeli Air Force. Mark Daly, an expert on unmanned aircraft at Jane’s Defense in London, notes the Israelis were the first to make widespread use of drones in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, when the aircraft were used to monitor troop movements.

Now, as the Arab media and Western reporters such as Scott Wilson of the Washington Post have reported, the Israeli Defense Force uses fleets of constantly hovering drones to intimidate and control the Arab population in the Gaza Strip.  (The residents call these drones “zenana,” which both sounds like the aircraft’s distinctive buzz and is Arabic slang for a nagging wife.) The IDF regularly uses drones for targeted assassinations of suspected militants, saying the drones enable them to use “precision strikes” to avoid hurting civilians. Yet as Human Rights Watch has documented, the drone strikes during the Gaza War killed scores of children who were nowhere near armed combatants.

Israel markets its expertise in defense to the rest of the world. Israeli academic Neve Gordon cites a glossy government brochure on drones titled “Israel Homeland Security: Opportunities for Industrial Cooperation,” which boasts, “no other advanced technology country has such a large proportion of citizens with real time experience in the army, security and police forces.” The chapter called “Learning from Israel’s Experience” notes that “many of these professionals continue to work as international consultants and experts after leaving the Israel Defense Forces, police or other defense and security organizations.”

The work has paid off when it comes to drones: The Jewish state is the single largest exporter of drones in the world, responsible for 41 percent of all UAVs exported between 2001 and 2011, according to a database compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Israeli companies export drone technology to at least 24 countries, including the United States.

Read the whole article here.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation

{ 13 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Nevada Ned says:

    To whom is Israel exporting drones?
    Since almost the entire world supports the Palestinians (apart from the US and Israel), Israel is likely exporting drones to someone who will sell them to someone else who…(etc). eventually sells them to God only knows who.

    I expect that it won’t be too long before US troops are attacked by drones.

    Why not? Nobody has a monopoly on technology these days.

    The Iranians captured a US drone. Here’s a cartoon showing Iran cloning the drone

    • seafoid says:

      I think Israelis know the occupation is putting the whole show at risk. But they are unable to stop it

      link to youtube.com!

      “It’s been seen everywhere…. even Brooklyn”
      the video is incredible and if you are a Zionist, incredibly poignant.
      What a disaster they are bringing upon themselves.

      Maybe Phil should hang on in there .

      • libra says:

        I think Israelis know the occupation is putting the whole show at risk. But they are unable to stop it

        Indeed, and I think that the designer of the shop-a-fada logo has captured that subliminally. It brings to mind the metaphor of Israel as an out of control shopping cart. Grab all you can before the store closes down.

    • Hostage says:

      I expect that it won’t be too long before US troops are attacked by drones.

      Why? US military doctrine requires that air superiority be established and maintained in the theater of operations.

      The primary missions of Israeli and the US drones are reconnaissance and assassination of non-combatant civilian targets. I would expect other countries would follow our example and start killing American leaders far from any battlefield.
      link to opiniojuris.org
      link to opiniojuris.org

  2. HarryLaw says:

    Seafoid, just done my bit for shop a fada went to my local supermarket and before buying some Israeli fruit, tested them for freshness I think they were over ripe because my thumbs went clean through them, no sale, sorry.

  3. giladg says:

    The Israeli bashes are responsible for this. When Israel used F15′s and F16′s to bomb terrorists in Gaza, all we heard about from the Palestinians and their supporters was how American money was being used against “innocent civilians”. So now Israel changed its tactics and does not use, or very seldom uses the US planes. The Palestinians were allowed to send rockets into Israel (no consequences from the so called enlightened world), so the Iron Dome was developed.
    When a nations back is against the wall, and is unjustly and one sidedly criticized, it will look for and quite often find solutions to its problems, and sometimes those solutions are world beaters. And the Israeli bashing continues, day in and day out. This website is a testimony to that.
    Leave us alone already otherwise we might have to develop some other new and exciting product.

    • Shingo says:

      When Israel used F15′s and F16′s to bomb terrorists in Gaza, all we heard about from the Palestinians and their supporters was how American money was being used against “innocent civilians”.

      Yes, and they continue to do so. Of course, if Iron Dome worked, there would be no need to continue doing so.

      So now Israel changed its tactics and does not use, or very seldom uses the US planes.

      Yes, when Israle bombs Iran, it will be doing it with Israel made warplanes no doubt….except that they don’t exist.

      The Palestinians were allowed to send rockets into Israel (no consequences from the so called enlightened world), so the Iron Dome was developed.

      Allowed, AFTER Israel broke ceasefires (ie. no rockets) in 2008 and 2011.

      When a nations back is against the wall, and is unjustly and one sidedly criticized, it will look for and quite often find solutions to its problems, and sometimes those solutions are world beaters.

      Except that Iron Dome is a complete dud and even then, it could nto have been developed without US money.

      link to haaretz.com

      Leave us alone already otherwise we might have to develop some other new and exciting product.

      With who’s money and who’s technology? Who you gonna steal military secrets from if the US leaves you alone?

    • Sumud says:

      Leave us alone already otherwise we might have to develop some other new and exciting product.

      Leave Israel Alone!

      How about you all go home to Israel giladg?

      Stop the occupation, leave the Palestinians alone.

      Then we can talk.

    • Hostage says:

      The Palestinians were allowed to send rockets into Israel (no consequences from the so called enlightened world), so the Iron Dome was developed.

      About the time that Galid Shalit was captured, Amos Harel and Haaretz had just reported that the IDF records indicated its artillery batteries deployed along the Gaza Strip border had fired more than 5100 shells at Gaza in six weeks time. That number alone eclipsed anything fired at Israel. Here’s the Google cached version of the story: link to webcache.googleusercontent.com

      UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard had summed-up the situation: Persons responsible for committing war crimes by the firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage should be apprehended or prosecuted. This applies to Palestinians who fire Qassam rockets into Israel; and more so to members of the IDF who have committed such crimes on a much greater scale. link to unispal.un.org

      And the Israeli bashing continues, day in and day out. This website is a testimony to that. Leave us alone already otherwise we might have to develop some other new and exciting product.

      You’re here trying to whitewash war crimes that can usually be verified by reading your own domestic press reports about the Dahiya doctrine, using sonic booms from aircraft for psy-ops, targeted assassination of groups for acts they didn’t commit, and etc.

      Israel’s largest export these days is arrogance. Like the old saying goes, if common sense were dynamite, none of you Israeli spokespersons could blow your own noses.

      • Shingo says:

        Superbly done as lays Hostage

        There’s also this detil that Hasbrats like Samuel T love to sweep under the carpet. In June 2006, HRW published a report which stated, among other things:

        The IDF has fired more than 7,700 shells at northern Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal in September 2005, creating a problem of unexploded ordnance in heavily populated areas.

        link to hrw.org

    • eljay says:

      >> When a nations back is against the wall …

      Israel’s back is not against the wall. It is the aggressor and the occupier. It is the expansionist and colonialist state. It operates far outside of Partition borders. It remains engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

      But, then, you probably think the rapist has his back against the wall every time the victim he is raping tries to slap and punch him.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      When Israel used F15′s and F16′s to bomb terrorists in Gaza,

      So the UN is a terrorist organization to you? Many of the prominent buildings targeted by your aircraft (flying over an occupied civilian occupation with no air defenses whatsoever) were operated by the UN. So now doctors and teachers are terrorists to Israel? Never mind Palestinian schoolchildren, or civilians taking shelter in schools and hospitals during your targeted slaughter.

  4. Sumud says:

    Israel’s adopted business model of manufacturing weapons and death machinery is only going to give fodder to people like Mel Gibson – remember his comment about the jews starting wars?

    So obviously his statement is rubbish but Israel, rather than ‘the jews’, really is unhealthily fond of war. And war is not a renewable resource – not even the bogus Global War On Terror.