Government defence manufacturer’s partnership with Israeli weapons company ‘completely unacceptable’: APAN

Feb 28, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has demanded the Australian Government immediately terminate all defence contracts with Israeli companies, following revelations that a federal government defence manufacturer is partnering with an Israel-based military technology company.

On Monday, Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) announced it had awarded a $917 million contract to Israel-based Elbit Systems for the supply of “fighting capabilities and sensors” for Australian Redback infantry fighting vehicles.

The partnership forms part of a $3.6 billion Australian Department of Defence contract with HDA, which was signed in December 2023.

APAN President Nasser Mashni said it was appalling that the Federal Government allowed its defence contractors to embark upon partnerships with Israel-based companies in the midst of Israel’s genocide in Gaza and its violent occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“This decisions comes after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel and all signatories to the Genocide Convention to act to prevent genocide,” Mr Mashni said.

“Surely entering a partnership to send Australian money to an Israeli weapons manufacturer – bolstering one of the very companies that is facilitating this genocide – morally and legally compromises the Australian Government?

“We know that Israeli companies battle-test their technology on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank – in fact, we’re watching it do so on a daily basis as it massacres Palestinians, mostly women and children as part of its ongoing genocide in Gaza.

“In this agreement between HDA and Elbit, hundreds of millions of Australian taxpayer dollars are to be shipped off to an Israeli company that is actively facilitating and profiting from this genocide, and is no doubt basing its research and development upon the efficacy with which it is able to slaughter Palestinians in Gaza.

“How the Federal Government can justify, let alone allow this is just mind-boggling.”

Mr Mashni said the Australian Government needed to come clean over the extent of its military ties, contracts and cooperation with Israel and Israeli companies.

“The Australian public has a right to know what the government is doing in our name, and with our money, particularly where our name and our money might be supporting companies and regimes that are committing genocide,” Mr Mashni said.

“It is completely unacceptable to our community for this contract to stand.

“The government must sever all existing ties with Israeli companies facilitating and profiting off the massacre of Palestinians and must refrain from entering into any new agreements with any such companies.

“The Australian Government cannot come good on its commitment to a ceasefire and to protecting the lives of Gazans while it pays an Israeli weapons manufacturer that is turning a profit from these atrocities.”