The west loves to portray Israel as though it is a beacon of hope of some sort in the otherwise neighborhood of uncivilized, barbaric nations who are irrationally against the very existence of the Israeli state. This cannot be farther from the truth. The narrative that Israel is fighting for survival is a complete hogwash. Israel is very much an extension of the western capitalist -imperialist bloc and has been instrumental in organizing and enabling violent oppressions round the globe. Testament to this reality about Israel is its arms industry. The world was given a peek at the tip of the ice berg when Israel showcased its sophisticated iron dome technology which intercepted rockets fired by Hamas with ease. Israel is also notorious for its Pegasus spyware which has wreaked havoc in countries like India.
A game of numbers:
Israel has one of the largest arms industries in the world. Despite being a geographically small country, it is one of the top arms exporters of the world. As of 2018, the Israeli arms industry exported military hardware and software worth 8.7 billion USD. In 2019, the figure reached 9 billion USD, thanks to the unprecedented sale to countries like India. According to the Stockholm international peace research institute, the tiny country is currently the world’s 8th largest exporter of weapons. Israel on an average allocates more than 5 % of their annual budget to defense services and production. The number is higher than countries like the US. Over the years, Israel has supplied weapons to more than a hundred countries. It is hard to verify the exact number of countries that buy arms from Israel as Israel does not publish official report about its arms export. Some of Israel’s important exports include small arms like the Uzi submachine gun, Tavor assault rifles, drones, AWACS and sophisticated softwares including the infamous spyware called Pegasus. This model of exporting and supplying arms to mostly third world countries is identical to that of the American model. Just as Imperialist USA supplies weapons and other resources to reactionary, rightwing forces across the world under the garb of freedom and democracy, Israel as well justifies its enormous arms industry by crying victim at the hands of neigbouring Arab countries.
Gaza: not just than an open air prison, but also a testing ground:
The continuous oppression of Palestinians at the hands of Israel takes a more dynamic form as a direct consequence of having such a large arms industry. The Israeli Defense Forces use new weapons against unarmed Palestinians. They have been reduced to test mules and their homeland a test laboratory. The Israeli soldiers learn to use weapons by drawing Palestinian blood. The Israeli arms industry directly benefits from having a territory under seize and a population under captivity. Further, upon using their newer weapons against Palestinians, the weapons are certified as battle proven, something that very important in the international arms market. Israel not just uses final products, multiple prototypes pre-production version of weapons are used in order to fine tune them. In his book ‘’war against the people’’, author Jeff Halper argues that Palestine is nothing but a laboratory for the Israeli arms industry.
Capitalism and blame game:
However, it would be extremely naïve to assume that solely the Israeli state is directly responsible for the violent oppression of the Palestinians. Reports suggest that companies from abroad including the US send in their test weapons to be used and tested to Israel. Every offensive against Palestinians is a chance for Israeli and other western companies to test and showcase their latest arms systems.
Occupation and collaboration:
Underneath the liberal concern for Palestinian lives, lies the actual defence of capitalism. It is imperative that we see the entangled relation between capitalism and imperialist/settler colonialist violent occupation. Israel is mostly a desert state that is low on natural resources. It would not be possible for the settler colonial state to so violently oppress another nation without international collaboration. Of course the US comes first when it comes to political and economic support to Israel. But at a more basic level, every capitalist country is responsible for the plight of the Palestinians. The whole capitalist arms industry or as commonly known as the military industrial complex is based on exploitative relation vis a vis the third world, especially African and Latin American countries. It is reminiscent of colonial mode of exploitation. Natural resources are exploited from colonized countries, finished products are sold at the markets of the same countries. The Israeli arms industry is only an inevitable child of imperialism and capitalism.