Norway, the Palestinians, selling weapons

The Norwegian government has made an ethical decision. It will no longer include Elbit, a large Israeli defense contractor,  in its investment portfolio. This is because some of Elbit’s products help to maintain Israel’s security barrier, which Norway considers illegal.

On the surface, this all sounds very noble. But scratch just a little bit, and lot of yucky blood quickly oozes out from Oslo’s skin.

To start with, Norway has spent a lot of its own money, directly and indirectly, funding an anti-israel narrative, specifically through aiding NGOs that seek the destruction of Israel. So clearly, Norway’s claims that her financial decision is not designed as a boycott of Israel is less than convincing.

In fact, Norway is only following the thoughts expressed in many other European countries recently. A notable example are the views frequently stated in Westminster by all the main parties. So let’s call in hypocrisy mark no’ 2:

A recent report by Frost & Sullivan has noted how defense spending by Middle Eastern countries has defied the global recession. And guess which states are benefitting from this loose change? Yup, our European friends. To quote a respected analyst, Tom Gross:

Defense spending in the Middle East will exceed $100 billion by 2014. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are spearheading the arms race in the Middle East. Both countries are particularly nervous about the rise of Iran and what they perceive as President Obama’s weak response to Iranian nuclear ambitions.

The report says that Saudi Arabia looks set to spend at least $36 billion annually over the next five years. “The ratio of their defense spending to that of their total GDP is the highest in the world,” it notes, stressing that the ratio was unaffected by the global economic slowdown and fluctuating oil prices.

According to the report, Jordan is eyeing 85 AIM-120C-7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and 120 C captive air training missiles in a deal estimated at around $130 million. Bahrain is also considering the purchase of 25 AIM-120C-7 missiles.

Separately, RIA Novosti reports that Saudi Arabia is to buy 30 Mi-171B Russian military helicopters. The Saudis have traditionally bought only Western, mainly U.S.-made, military equipment, but have recently expressed an interest in acquiring Russian weaponry, including S-400 air defense systems, T-90 tanks, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, and various types of helicopters.

Anybody seen the barrier that Saudi is building along part of its unofficial borders? Anybody considered how pluralistic these states…are not?

And even if you feel these points are not so relevant, consider this twist. The Economist recently compared where most Arabs have lost their lives in military conflicts. Over a million lives have been destroyed in the past 2 decades, including around 2 thousand Palestinians. I will accept that any life lost is one too many, but to start targeting Israel as “le votre culprit” is a bit…well, stupid.

Over the next few weeks, Iran will publish a large tender for its mobile telephone sector. European companies will be asked to participate. What will Norway’s stance be on this issue?

Explore posts in the same categories: Business, Israel, Palestinians

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