— presented as part of the 8 Days Campaign in December 2016.
The Israeli defense industry and the Philippine war on drugs Israel’s most prominent trade connection with the Philippines is the employment of Filipino care workers in Israel. However, the past few years have seen Israel extensive defense exports to the Philippines, with multimillion US dollar deals between the Philippine government and military with Israeli companies Elbit, Rafael, and Israel Aerospace Industries.
Recently the Philippine President even made a public promise to only buy arms from Israel. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, nicknamed “the Punisher” by some, has since his June 2016 election conducted what he calls “a war on drugs and organized crime.” He “wages war” through thousands of extrajudicial executions at the hands of police officers, as well as citizens taking the law into their own hands at Duterte’s encouragement, creating an atmosphere of danger and fear on the streets of the country’s big cities. This war includes the imprisonment of thousands, filling local prisons completely. In the first ten weeks after Duterte declared his war, over 2,400 civilians were killed. News media now report over 4,000 innocent people are dead. Duterte expressed support for killing drug dealers and drug users when briefing the police on July 1, the day of his inauguration. “Do your duty and if in the process you kill 1,000 persons because you were doing your duty, I will protect you,” he told his police officers. “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself,” he told a civilian audience that same day. At a press conference on September 30, Duterte compared himself with Hitler, saying, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there is 3 million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…” he said, and pointed at himself. He later apologized for the statement, and at a press conference he held at a synagogue said he apologized for using the word “Jews” but still intends on killing 3 million people. At the same event he announced he had ordered his military to only buy arms from Israel.
On September 20, ten days before the provocative statement, Duterte spoke before the Philippine military’s 10th Infantry Division and praised Israel’s role in the war on drugs. He added that 120,000 of his soldiers would receive Israeli Glock 30 pistols, “as fast as Israel can produce it.” On the day of his inauguration, Duterte chose to meet with three ambassadors: from China, India, and Israel. In early November 2016, an arms deal of 26,000 pistols between the United States and the Philippines was halted among American concerns for the human rights situation in the country. The Philippine President said of this that he would have to find another source. Will this concern for human rights lead to increased profits for Israeli defense industries? The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Export Controls Agency is charged with preventing situations where Israeli weapons are used for human rights abuses. Will it do so?