The Israeli security industry is comprised of a state-owned Military-Industrial Complex and hundreds of privately owned companies, the so-called ‘homeland security industries’. The security industry is estimated to generate revenues totalling billions of dollars annually. European countries sustain through economic relations with the Israeli security industry an export economy directly profiting from military occupation. The economy of the occupation constitutes one of the major obstacles for a peaceful and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
To start the mapping of Israeli security industry exports to the Netherlands, Buro Jansen & Janssen has made a first inventory with the intention:
- To establish the extent to which the Netherlands is a client of the Israeli security industry by assessing the economic relations in this area and the level of Israeli security know-how implementation in the The inventory will attempt to establish the specific contribution of Dutch civilian, police and military authorities to the economy of the occupation.
- To explain the ethical issues arising from sustaining economic relations with the Israeli security industry, and to the extent that it is possible, highlight the impact of Israeli security know-how on the security culture in the Netherlands.
- To inform Dutch public opinion, to generate awareness to the ethical issues, and to stimulate civil society campaigns.
The research involved three major tracks, which will be explained here shortly.
Track 1 entailed the cross-referencing of various lists of companies known to be involved in trade between Israel and the Netherlands. Out of the more than 600 companies in the Excel database we composed, we compiled a long list of 21 companies that stood out in our initial investigation. Chapter V details the various aspects of our research, and discusses several security companies that trade with the Netherlands.
As we did not have a fixed prioritised list of companies to focus on, track 2 of this research started with a series of FOIA requests in order to get more information about possible contacts between the Dutch authorities and Israel. We issued FOIA requests to a broad spectrum of authorities and institutions, namely the 26 Regional police forces and the Ministries of Justice, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Economics and Finance. We asked for contracts with private companies worth between 10,000 and 125,000 Euros (Everything beyond €125,000 is supposed to be covered by the public European tender register).
Track 3 involved an investigation of the European Security Research Programmes to locate those that have involvement of both Israeli and Dutch companies and institutions. We have created a separate database that identifies those programmes that involve both Dutch and Israeli partners. The programme of EU grants for security research provides a major opportunity for Israel to get access to the European markets. Chapter IV introduces the so-called Framework Programme FP7 aimed at Security Research and discusses some of the arguments against Israel benefiting from this programme.
To get an impression of the contacts between Israel and the Netherlands provided by EU projects, and the opportunities for selling the ‘Israeli experience’, we had a closer look at one of the European Security Research programmes. The programme that raised our interest was Safire, aimed at understanding radicalisation and developing interventions to prevent extremism.
Chapter III uses the example of the market for Unmanned Armed Vehicles (UAVs or drones) to describe the road from military to civilian use of homeland security products – zooming in on the situation in the Netherlands. Selling drones illustrates the selling of the so-called ‘Israeli experience.’ This idea, recently introduced by Neve Gordon, helps explain the success story of Israel’s homeland security industry in the global market.
Chapter II explores the relation between the military-industrial complex and the homeland security industry, and the differences between the two. Elbit Systems serves as an as example. It is one of the largest Israeli companies, it is active in all fields of the security industry, and it is accused of involvement in the occupation and the apartheid wall. The chapter ends with the campaigns leading to the recent divestments from the company.
The report begins with an overview of current civil society campaigns focusing on links with the Netherlands. While far from complete, the intention is to get an idea of what is going on, and which campaigns are successful. With this start, we want to make clear that we intend to build on research already done by others before and around us. For the situation in the Netherlands, we specifically refer to earlier investigations by Profundo, and to the work of De Campagne tegen Wapenhandel.