Will Europe use Israeli drones against refugees?

Europe’s coastal guards are examining whether Israel’s warplanes would be helpful tools in repressing refugees.

In September, the EU’s border management agency Frontex announced
the start of trial flights for drones in Italy, Greece and Portugal.
There was a major omission in the Frontex statement: the type of drones
being tested have been used previously to attack Gaza.

Some details of the companies involved in these trials were published earlier this year. A “contract award notice” revealed that Israel Aerospace Industries was one of two bidders selected.

Israel Aerospace Industries is being paid $5.5 million for up to 600 hours of trial flights.

The drone which Israel Aerospace Industries offers for maritime surveillance is called the Heron.

According to the company’s own website, the Heron is “combat-proven.”
That is code for saying it has been employed during Israel’s three
major attacks on Gaza over the past decade.

Following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s assault on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, a Human Rights Watch investigation concluded
that dozens of civilians were killed with missiles launched from
drones. The Heron was identified as one of the main drones deployed in
that offensive.

Frontex – which frequently expels refugees from Europe – has been assessing drones for some time. Back in 2012, Israel Aerospace Industries showcased the Heron at an event organized by Frontex.

Through its flight trials, Frontex is enabling Israel’s war industry
to adapt technology tested on Palestinians for surveillance purposes.
While the EU’s representatives routinely profess
concern for human rights, the involvement of weapons makers in
monitoring borders bears more than a few similarities to the bellicose
policies pursued by Donald Trump’s administration in the US.


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