Arizona companies financially close to Israeli security forces
PHOENIX – Amid recent violence in the Middle East, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeted “Arizona stands with Israel,” joining Republican leaders across the country in a show of political support.
It has also sparked outrage from supporters of the Palestinians, with one activist calling Ducey’s position a “violation of human rights.”
Despite polarized views, Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry not only “stands by” Israel, but the technology developed here watches over the country: Israel’s Iron Defense System. Dome was created here. In partnership with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in Israel, Raytheon Missiles & Defense in Tucson produced the missile defense system credited with blocking thousands of missiles fired by Hamas and other groups since its first deployment in 2011.
Raytheon employs 15,000 Arizona residents, according to its spokesperson, and its Israeli partner Rafael formed a joint venture last year to build a version of the iron dome for the United States.
Leib Bolel, president and CEO of the Arizona Israel Technology Alliance, said that when the United States provides military aid to Israel, it is mainly in the form of government contracts.
Raytheon and Rafael “are working closely with the Israeli government to provide them with a number of military applications, but most notably the Iron Dome,” Bolel told Cronkite News. The in-flight interception technology came “from Rafael and Arizona, so there is a lot of military collaboration between the two governments.”
The Iron Dome is a short-range anti-rocket system, with an intercept range of 2.5 to 43 miles, which was relied on during the recent conflict. A precarious ceasefire remained in effect on Monday, but the Associated Press reported that Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip late last week.
Last month, clashes escalated between Palestinians and the Israeli police when Israel tried to prevent some Muslims from gathering at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City at the start of Ramadan, the Ramadan reported. AP. Tensions over a plan to expel dozens of Palestinians from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem also fueled the clashes.
The Israeli airstrikes on Gaza claimed the majority of the casualties. According to United Nations human rights officials, as of May 27, the conflict has killed at least 256 Palestinians and injured nearly 2,000. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 72,000 Palestinians were displaced as a result of the IDF strikes. At least 12 Israelis have been killed and Israeli officials have reported at least 200 injured, according to the BBC.
The Iron Dome is credited with more than 2,500 interceptions and a success rate of over 90%, according to the spokesperson for Raytheon. According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 4,300 missiles were launched at Israel just during the latest conflict in May.
Alleging that the al-Jalaa building housed Hamas research and anti-Iron Dome, Israel targeted an airstrike on the building during last month’s conflict, which housed the offices of the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other media in Gaza City. Israeli officials have since quashed some of their early charges, and the PA has denied that there was any indication of Hamas in the building.
Dramatic footage from the recent conflict shows the Iron Dome intercepted many of them targeting and destroying incoming projectiles. The system had been the subject of previous tests, with conflicts in 2012 and 2014. In 2012, Israeli officials said the Iron Dome intercepted 85% of the more than 400 rockets fired by Gaza-based militants, according to a report from Congress. Subsequent upgrades improved the Iron Dome’s interception rate to nearly 90 percent in 2014, according to the report.
Israel has been criticized for bombing the Gaza building that housed AP. But Israel says Hamas was building an anti-iron dome there. https://t.co/3E47Mx4qIW pic.twitter.com/Ei44bFLO6r
– The Daily Feed (@realDailyWire) June 9, 2021
The Iron Dome is also being implemented in the United States – although plans for where and how it will be deployed have yet to be made public. In 2019, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the US Department of Defense had signed an agreement to purchase two Iron Dome batteries for the US military, which were delivered earlier this year.
Israel’s political and economic support
Raytheon worked with Rafael for over a decade on the Iron Dome. In 2019, the United States spent $ 1.6 billion on Israel’s iron dome, according to the Congressional Research Service.
In addition to fabricating the Iron Dome for Israeli defense, Raytheon and Rafael co-developed David’s Sling Weapons System, “an element of Israel’s multi-level missile defense architecture that provides defense regional mid-level against tactical ballistic missiles, medium and long-range rockets, aircraft, drones and cruise missiles, ”according to Carolyn Beaudry, communications manager for the Land Warfare and Air Defense program of Raytheon.
Raytheon declined to answer if the recent conflict in Israel has heightened interest in the company from other countries. Over the past three months, the company’s share price has risen 9.65%. In the first quarter of 2021, Raytheon achieved $ 11.6 billion in product sales, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.
Arizona stands in solidarity with Israel. 🇺🇸🇮🇱
– Doug Ducey (@dougducey) May 12, 2021
Three years ago, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the US-Israel Trade Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding committing to work together to strengthen economic and trade ties between Arizona. and Israel. The two organizations have agreed to collaborate on water, fintech, tech and startups, defense and aerospace.
According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona exports to Israel $ 235 million in aerospace products and parts, $ 43 million in basic chemicals and $ 40 million in semiconductors and other electronic components. When Ducey opened Arizona’s first trade and investment office in Israel in 2019, media reported Arizona was Israel’s ninth-largest trading partner. The governor’s office declined a request for an interview from Cronkite News about trade with Israel.
More than 90 Arizona companies do business in Israel, including Gilbert Engineering, White Microelectronics, Burr Brown, Ace Aviation and Litton Systems, according to the US-Israel cooperative company. Since 1996, Arizona companies have received nearly $ 880 million in foreign military funding, including Aeromaritime America Inc. in Mesa, Asfir Inc. in Scottsdale and International Turbine Engine in Phoenix, according to the company.
Patrick Ptak, senior vice president of executive initiatives at the Arizona Commerce Authority, told Cronkite News: “We haven’t seen any disruption in trade or economic collaboration with Israel recently.”
The United States annually provides Israel with $ 3.3 billion in foreign military funding and $ 500 million for missile defense cooperation programs, according to the State Department.
President Joe Biden has pledged U.S. support to help Israel rebuild its Iron Dome defense system, which requires continued funding and ammunition.
“I have also underlined what I have said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups based in Gaza that claimed the lives of innocent civilians in Israel, ”Biden said on May 20. .
Controversy surrounds the Iron Dome
In the days following Ducey’s pro-Israel tweet, protesters staged a rally at the Arizona Capitol to demand the freedom of Palestine and an end to the violence.
Protesters march down 17th Avenue on the sidewalks chanting “Free and Free Palestine” – it sounds like one of the biggest protests I’ve seen in Phoenix since last year’s Black Lives Matter protests. @azcentral pic.twitter.com/KCIYHfpzw2
– Audrey Jensen (@ Audreyj101) May 15, 2021
Activists disagree on the value of the Iron Dome – some say it is a vital tool, others say its use prolongs the conflict.
Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance spokesperson and volunteer Mohyeddin Abdulaziz said one of the biggest problems in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the United States unconditionally supports Israel. Abdulaziz thinks this prolongs the conflict.
“This does not encourage Israel to negotiate a peaceful and just resolution,” Abdulaziz said, adding that Ducey’s position supporting Israel “is in violation of international law, it is in violation of the Geneva Convention, in violation of human rights “.
The United States and the international community are ignoring United Nations rules by continuing to trade with the occupation settlements, Abdulaziz said, noting that the UN has established rules to recognize the rights of Palestinians regarding settlements, but that ‘they are not respected.
Pro-Israel activists say Iron Dome technology is vital.
“We wish the Iron Dome was unnecessary and that Israelis and Palestinians could live and prosper in peace,” said Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, an international, non-partisan educational organization in Israel. “One of the main reasons (Hamas) failed in its attempts to assassinate thousands of Israelis is the Iron Dome, a technology developed through crucial cooperation between Israel and the United States.