ISDEF is a bi-annual International Defense and HLS Expo organised by the Israeli government. In 2017, this exhibit was held on the exact dates marking 50 years to the Israeli occupation of 1967. These two events coinciding highlights the connection between the Israeli military industry and the Israeli occupation.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Israel is ranked sixth in the world in arms and defense exports, and the first country in defense exports relative to its GDP. The reason Israel is able to compete with the economic powerhouses of the USA, Spain, Japan, Britain, or Russia for producing and selling military equipment is due to the experience the Israeli military and military industries have gained over years in the occupation of Palestine and in the everyday management and control over the Palestinian civilian populations. Some 80 percent of Israeli defense production is exported, marketed and sold to about 130 different countries with the tag of having been “battle proven”. Israeli weapons, technologies and military exports fuel many blooded conflicts around the world. From South Sudan to Brazil and Sri Lanka, Apartheid South Africa and Serbia during the Balkan Wars, Israel has played and continues to play a key role in arming abuses on human rights. Israel’s status as a leading exporter of arms is a direct result of the industry’s strong ties with the Israeli law enforcement agencies which are willing to try new technologies of control and surveillance on Palestinians in the occupied territory. In recent years, those arms and technologies are marketed as “Battle Proven” or as recommended by the IDF which makes them more attractive to prospective buyers. In some instances, these marketing tactics have taken place during periods of military confrontation, such as during Operation Cast Led in 2008, when the same weapons used to bomb Gaza were being marketed internationally. In 2015, the military industry’s profit stood at 5.7 billion US dollars. The ability to test, and then market tactics and weapons as “Battle Proven” fuels the Israeli arms industry.