UAE rewards Israeli firms that supplied arms for Gaza massacre

Palestinian children stand amidst the ruins of a neighborhood in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip (Mohammed Zaanoun - ActiveStills)

Tamara Nassar

The Electronic Intifada  /  November 19, 2021

The United Arab Emirates is rewarding Israeli arms makers that helped massacre Palestinians earlier this year.

Elbit Systems, which provided weapons for Israel’s May assault on Gaza, is establishing a subsidiary: Elbit Systems Emirates.

“The Abraham Accords provide a sound basis for business collaborations in the region,” Ran Kril, an executive at Elbit Systems, said.

He is referring to the normalization deals brokered by the United States last year between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

These countries are “important new markets for Elbit Systems,” Kril said – an insight into how Israel views Arab states as profit centers for its war industry.

Elbit boasted in an Arabic-language video showcasing its weapons that its technology “improves efficiency and protects lives,” – Orwellian language from a company whose products have proven efficient at ending Palestinian lives.

Elbit Systems was among more than a dozen Israeli arms manufacturers that participated in the Dubai Airshow this week.

They included Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael.

“First AI war”

These firms are among the leading suppliers of weapons used by Israel in its attacks against Palestinians.

This includes Israel’s 11-day war on Gaza in May, which left 250 Palestinians dead, including more than 60 children.

During the attack, Israel annihilated entire families in their homes.

Elbit Systems was “directly involved” in Israel’s assault, corporate watchdog Who Profits said.

The company is a major exporter of drones.

Elbit drones were used by the Israeli military during the assault, and Elbit’s personnel also worked in an “operations room” of a new drone unit – Unit 9900.

The unit operates two drone fleets: one to “inspect and collect intelligence” and one to “attack targets” with the gathered data.

In other words, the Gaza Strip was effectively used as a testing ground for “new artificial intelligence capabilities” developed by Elbit “as part of a new military unit,” according to Who Profits.

The unit conducted over 30 operations, according to an Israeli general, as part of an effort to “perfect the system” – an example of how Israel routinely uses Palestinians as guinea pigs for the weapons it later sells to other countries at a profit.

“Use of these artificial intelligence capabilities led the military to declare the onslaught on Gaza as the world’s ‘first AI war,’” the watchdog said.

Who Profits attributes the firm’s success to its relationship with the Israeli military, which “enables Elbit to test its products in real-time and on Palestinian bodies.”

Elbit regularly markets its products as “battle-proven” – a euphemism for how those weapons have been used to kill, injure and control virtually defenseless Palestinians.

“It is also a golden marketing tool,” Who Profits said.

Elbit weapons were also used in Israel’s major offensive against Gaza in the summer of 2014.

That attack is part of the International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli military killed an average of 11 Palestinian children per day that summer.

More deals

The Dubai Airshow brought another military deal between two major Emirati and Israeli firms on Thursday.

EDGE, one of the largest military contractors in the UAE, has signed a memorandum of understanding with IAI to design and build unmanned military and commercial ships – in other words naval drones.

The CEO of EDGE called it a “strategic alliance.”

The vessels will be used for intelligence gathering, surveillance, border operations and maritime warfare.

Jordan embraces Israel tighter

Meanwhile, Jordan is reaping the benefits of the Abraham Accords just as was predicted by Israel lobby observers.

Jordan, Israel and the UAE are set to sign a deal on Monday that will see a solar farm built on Jordanian land to provide energy to Israel, journalist Barak Ravid reported.

John Kerry, the US climate envoy and former secretary of state, brokered the deal, Ravid said, citing “five Israeli officials” without naming them.

The UAE will fund the solar farm.

In return, Israel will supposedly build a desalination plant on the Mediterranean coast to provide Jordan with water.

Despite cosmetic strains between Israel and Jordan in recent years, the relationship has, according to Ravid, “improved significantly” since Naftali Bennett took over as prime minister – even though Israel hasn’t changed any of its policies.

This has included Jordan secretly sending warplanes to train alongside the Israeli air force just months after Israel’s massacre of civilians in Gaza. Jordanian air force leaders also recently met with their Israeli and Emirati counterparts in Dubai.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, despite there being no restoration of Palestinian rights or an end to Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

But despite formal ties between the two countries, this has never translated into a so-called warm peace among people.

The treaty is strongly opposed by the Jordanian public and members of parliament, as is a US-backed gas deal that will see Jordan pay Israel at least $10 billion over 15 years – money that will undoubtedly contribute to Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians.

The Jordanian public and parliament have staunchly opposed the deal since it was signed in 2016 and repeatedly called for its cancellation through campaigns and protests.

However, the Jordanian official embrace of Israel continues to tighten without any regard for public opinion.

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada