How does Israel fit in with current global emergencies and unprecedented dangers, those being the worsening provision of food, water, shelter, and healthcare for the global population, the COVID-19 pandemic and warnings of worse to come, and climate-related calamities? Massive fatalities and immiseration are not inevitable, but the current human situation is shaped by forces lethal to people’s basic needs: militarization, neoliberalism, and neofascism.
Haim Bresheeth-Zabner’s recent book An Army Like No Other: How the Israel Defense Forces made a Nation, shows in detail how the Zionists’ single-minded determination to establish a powerful, militarized Jewish nation was achieved through opportunistic exploitation of worldwide shifts from the late 19th century through the present day. Israel’s distinctive evolution as a military nation has come to symbiotically serve and benefit from worldwide developments. Internationally renowned legal expert Richard Falk describes the emergent global constellation as “gangster geopolitics.” This essay focuses on three areas: Israel’s weapons/security/strategy sector, international law, and Israel’s nuclear weapons program.
Israel is a major international dealer of military technologies and strategies. SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) data between 2015 and 2019 shows that Israel was the eighth largest arms exporter in the world and that its global sales increased by 77% (US +23%, Russia -18%, Canada +33%). Jeff Halper, in his critical research on Israel’s advanced military weapons, writes that Israel “gets away with it” because of its specialized indispensability in global arms, strategy, and surveillance.
Israel’s global reach now involves the militarization of policing with the sale of surveillance technology, weapons, and strategies for crowd and riot control. Gaza is a lab and showcase for Israel’s “battle-tested” weapons and methods of controlling highly concentrated civilian populations as the global population is increasingly urbanized and concentrated in urban slums. The US Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Urban Warfare Training Center in the Negev, where the US and Israel train for assaults on densely populated areas. Israel’s technologies and strategies of perimeter defenses are applied to financial cores, government districts and meeting centers, embassies, and fuel depots worldwide.
The unending Global War on Terror (GWOT) is a political and economic goldmine for Israel, leading to bilateral and multilateral agreements – in science, technology, defense and security – and to industrial partnerships and investments with the major manufacturers of weapon/security/surveillance systems. Israel’s practice of carrying out total war on Gaza, i.e., on Gaza’s highly concentrated civilian population, serves as a lab and showcase for Israel’s weaponry and military trade.
Israel’s global reach also involves border controls, surveillance, and monitoring and controlling migration. At the end of the Cold War, there were fifteen walled borders; today, there are 77, with the help of Israel, the experienced world expert in walls. Many recent walled borders are armed with technology for security and pacification purchased from Israel. It is increasingly common for refugees to be monitored and stopped using this technology, long before they get to border crossings. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated that by mid 2020, an unprecedented 80 million people were forcibly displaced, a number that doubled over the last decade. Increasing numbers of people are treated as redundant and expendable, as inessential labour to the production of wealth and power of the global plutocracy.