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Israel’s Arms Exports Hit Record of $13B in 2023 Amid Gaza Genocide

Israel is notorious for “testing” military equipment on Palestinians before selling it to the world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands next to an Arrow-3 Anti-ballistic Missile System at the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) MLM Division plant in the central Israeli town of Be'er Ya'akov on January 22, 2019.

Israeli weapons exports hit a record high in 2023, the Israeli government reported on Monday, as Israeli forces carried out their ongoing genocide in Gaza and escalated their slaughter of Palestinians in the West Bank.

According to the Israeli defense ministry, the country’s arms exports totalled $13.1 billion last year, an all-time high as Israel has doubled its arms exports in the last five years.

About a third of these shipments were related to air-based weaponry like missiles and rockets, the ministry reported, while electronic and radar war systems, weapon launchers and stations, drones and aviation instruments, and ammunition and armaments each made up roughly 10 percent.

The ministry says “defense exports had become a central priority as part of an effort to strengthen security-strategic relations worldwide, enter new markets, remove bureaucratic barriers and reduce regulation,” Haaretz reported.

The report is a show of how Israel’s economy and international relations are flourishing even as its military has slaughtered over 37,000 Palestinians in Gaza and over 500 Palestinians in the West Bank since October. It is also a show of Israel’s dependence on war and militarism for both its domestic and international policy.

Israel is one of the world’s largest arms exporters, with a mix of private makers and state-owned companies like Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. It is the second-largest spender on its military per capita in the world, trumped only by Qatar and even beating the U.S.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel was the 9th largest exporter of arms between 2019 and 2023, accounting for 2.4 percent of weapons exports. Its top recipients in that time were India, the Philippines, and the United States.

Israel is notorious for “testing” military equipment on Palestinians, deploying drones, missiles and chemical weapons on Palestinians under Israeli apartheid before marketing them to world militaries. Experts have previously said that Israel is likely currently using some Israeli-made weapons in its genocide of Palestinians in Gaza that it will later sell abroad.

Surveillance and military drone technology, for instance, are an area in which Israeli manufacturers are especially prolific on a global level. The U.S. has made use of Israeli drone technology in many forms of repression and militarization; The Intercept reported last month that Israeli company High Lander has been selling drone technology known as Orion to U.S. police departments after Israeli police and settlements “tested” the equipment out on Palestinians.

The U.S. has also used Israeli surveillance technology, made by arms manufacturer Elbit Systems, on its southern border with Mexico.

On the other hand, Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military spending, and has one of the world’s largest militaries as a result. These weapons have been used to commit atrocities and ethnic cleansing in Palestine for decades, including in Israel’s current campaign of extermination of Palestinians in Gaza.

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