While the deadly weapons deployed in the Gaza Strip continue to cause devastation, American arms manufacturers are enjoying the anticipation of increased profits.
The United States has pledged unwavering support for the Israeli government in its aggressive actions in the besieged region, with high-ranking U.S. officials frequently visiting Tel Aviv. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has returned to Tel Aviv for the second time in less than a month, as the Biden administration aims to reaffirm its commitment to the beleaguered government.
One form of this support is the provision of deadly weaponry to the Israeli government, which has brought optimism to Wall Street as arms companies seek to capitalize on the conflict in Gaza.
A report released by The Guardian and Responsible Statecraft suggests that prominent US defense companies are anticipating significant profits as a result of the conflict initiated by the Israeli government against the Palestinian population.
Following the commencement of Israel’s bombing operations in Gaza on October 7, there has been a noteworthy surge in the stock prices of major arms manufacturers in both the United States and Europe.
Since October 7, Israel has been conducting airstrikes in densely-populated civilian areas of Gaza, in response to an operation by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which aimed to counter the Israeli government’s continuous actions against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
The casualties in the Gaza Strip have surpassed 10,500, including more than 4,500 children and 3,400 women, with over 25,000 people sustaining injuries. These attacks have significantly diminished the Israeli military’s stockpiles, necessitating substantial new orders of arms financed by Washington and provided by arms corporations on Wall Street.
Top US Weapons Companies
A report by Eyes on the Ties has highlighted prominent US defense companies, including Lockheed Martin, RTX (formerly known as Raytheon), Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and General Dynamics.
According to the report, these companies collectively disclosed $196.5 billion in revenue related to military activities in the previous year.
All five defense corporations have a track record of supplying weapons to Israel for the purpose of their use in conflicts with Palestinians and have recently been associated with arms sales during the ongoing Gaza offensive.
“The top shareholders in these five defense companies largely consist of big asset managers, or big banks with asset management wings, that include BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, Capital Group, Wellington, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Newport Trust Company, Longview Asset Management, Massachusetts Financial Services Company, Geode Capital, and Bank of America.”Responsible Statecraft
Remarkably, President Joe Biden has requested $106 billion in military assistance for both Israel and Ukraine from the US Congress. This financial aid has the potential to greatly benefit the aerospace and defense industry, which experienced a 7 percent increase in value shortly after Israel’s attack on October 7.
Cai von Rumohr, the Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst at TD Cowen, was quoted as saying that the Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has been described as genocidal, has generated “additional demand,” particularly in light of the $106 billion request made by the President.
“The situation in Israel is clearly a tragic one, to be honest, and it’s continuously evolving,” remarked Jason Aiken, the Executive Vice President of Technologies and Chief Financial Officer at General Dynamics, during the company’s earnings call on October 25.
“But if we consider the potential increase in demand arising from this situation, the most significant aspect to highlight, and the one that really stands out, is likely related to artillery.”
Aiken was reported in the media as expressing that they have been under pressure due to the Ukraine conflict, and the ongoing Israeli conflict in Gaza will only exacerbate that pressure.
“It’s evident that this has been a major challenge so far with Ukraine, one that we’ve been diligently supporting for our Army customer,” he pointed out.
“We’ve gone from 14,000 rounds per month to 20,000 very quickly. We’re working ahead of schedule to accelerate that production capacity up to 85,000, even as high as 100,000 rounds per month, and I think the Israel situation is only going to put upward pressure on that demand.”
“Genocide: Brought To You By General Dynamics”
Subsequent to these statements, pro-Palestine activists organized demonstrations outside the General Dynamics weapons facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts last week. Hundreds of individuals gathered to demand a halt to the conflict, displaying signs with messages such as “General Dynamics: Sponsoring Genocide.”
In Raytheon’s earnings call on October 24, Kristine Liwag, who serves as the Head of Aerospace and Defense Equity Research at Morgan Stanley, addressed the financial consequences of the White House’s supplemental funding request of $106 billion concerning the ongoing war.
“Looking at [the White House’s $106 billion supplemental funding request], you’ve got equipment for Ukraine, air and missile defense for Israel, and replenishment of stockpiles for both. And this seems to fit quite nicely with the Raytheon Defense portfolio,” said Liwag.Kristine Liwag, Head of Aerospace and Defense Equity Research at Morgan Stanley
Liwag also observed that the conflict in Palestine seemed to present an “opportunity” that aligns well with the company’s product range.
It’s worth highlighting that Morgan Stanley holds more than $3 billion worth of Raytheon stock, representing a 2.1 percent ownership stake in the defense company.
In disregard of previous warnings issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the heads of major weapons manufacturers made statements that appear inconsistent with their professed “commitment to human rights” and their endorsement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
At the outset of the Israeli conflict with Palestinians, the UNHCR issued a cautionary statement indicating that “there is already clear evidence that war crimes may have been committed” in Gaza, adding that those who have violated international law and targeted civilians “must be held accountable for their crimes.”
“The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are explicit in their requirement for companies to uphold human rights at all stages of their supply chain,” remarked Cor Oudes, who serves as the program leader for humanitarian disarmament, business conflict, and human rights at PAX for Peace, a Dutch-based non-governmental organization dedicated to safeguarding civilians from the impacts of armed conflicts.
Israel’s “Formidable Military” Myth Debunked
The Israeli government has consistently maintained a strong military force, a fact that was underscored in the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Military Balance 2023 report.
The Israeli regime sustains a standing army comprising 169,500 active military personnel, encompassing the army, navy, and paramilitary units, some of which are stationed near the Gaza Strip.
The United States has played a substantial part in the development and sustenance of this military infrastructure for the Israeli government, having provided trillions of dollars in military aid over the years.
An investigative report uncovered Israel’s longstanding practice of taking credit for joint projects with the United States and both nations have a history of exaggerating and distorting the performance data of such jointly developed military systems.
In recent years, the Iron Dome, a military system created to intercept and eliminate short-range rockets and artillery shells, has been promoted as highly effective with a claimed success rate of “90 percent.” However, these assertions are made by the manufacturer and the Israeli government, lacking independent verification or supporting secondary evidence.
In recent times, the Iron Dome, a military system created to intercept and eliminate short-range rockets and artillery shells, has been promoted as highly effective, boasting an alleged success rate of “90 percent.” However, these assertions originate from the manufacturer and the Israeli government, lacking independent verification or additional supporting evidence.
The unexpected operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance on October 7 once again discredited the notion of the Israeli military’s invulnerability, as the heavily advertised “air-defense systems” failed to intercept incoming rockets.
As reported by VICE, should the US Congress grant approval for President Biden’s request related to Israel, a portion of the funds would be allocated for the replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, a system that was manufactured by RTX.
“I think really across the entire Raytheon portfolio, you’re going to see a benefit of this restocking. On top of what we think is going to be an increase in [US Department of Defense] top line,”RTX CEO Gregory Hayes was quoted as saying.
In 2022, Israel’s military spending reached $23.4 billion, as reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an organization focused on conflict research. This equates to an average of $2,535 per person over the 2018-2022 period, ranking the Israeli government as the world’s second-highest per capita spender on military expenses.
During the same 2018-2022 timeframe, the Israeli government imported weaponry valued at $2.7 billion, primarily procuring from two countries: the United States and Germany. Of these military imports, approximately $2.1 billion originated from the US, while the remaining $546 million came from Germany.
In a strongly worded four-page letter, former UN official Craig Mokhiber expressed his dissatisfaction with the international community’s failure to prevent what he referred to as a “genocide unfolding before our eyes” in Gaza. Mokhiber, a US human rights lawyer, accused the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe of being “fully complicit in the horrific assault” on the Palestinian territory by Israeli forces due to their continued supply of lethal weaponry to the occupied areas.
US, Europe Arms Exports to Israel
A report by SIPRI provides insight into the arms sales from Europe to Israel spanning the period from 2013 to 2022. Italy and Germany have emerged as notable providers of essential weaponry and gear to the Israeli government, which is currently deployed in Gaza.
Conversely, the United Kingdom has lucrative agreements involving the provision of equipment to the Israeli Air Force, as emphasized by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT).
In a more recent development, President Biden has requested over $14 billion in military aid for Israel’s ongoing conflict with Palestinians. This request comes in addition to the annual $877 billion allocated by the US government for its military expenditures.
The United States has consistently been the steadfast supporter of the Israeli government, offering guided missile carriers, F-35 fighter jets, and various other military equipment. Israel holds the distinction of being the largest recipient of US foreign assistance, having received around $263 billion between 1946 and 2023.
In 2023, the US military aid to Israel amounted to $3.8 billion, as part of a historic $38 billion agreement spanning a decade. This agreement was initially inked during the tenure of former US President Barack Obama in 2016.
Notably, half a billion dollars of the military aid provided this year is allocated for the Israeli government’s missile systems, with a commitment from Washington to replenish Israeli munitions used in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
According to Shana Marshall, a specialist in finance and arms trade who serves as the associate director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, the way the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is understood can significantly vary depending on the government in question.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is only as good as how it’s interpreted by the host government, which in this case would be the US…
These analysts can feel safe in the knowledge that the US government is never going to interpret that law in such a way that they will be prevented from exporting weapons to a country that the US doesn’t have an outright embargo on, which probably won’t have anything to do with human rights law anyways.”Shana Marshall, Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University
The Leahy Law forbids the export of US defense equipment to military units that are involved in human rights violations. Nonetheless, up to this point, no Israeli unit has faced sanctions under this legislation.
It’s important to note that the extensive military aid given by the US to Israel carries significant consequences, not only for the region but also for the American workforce.
The ramifications of this support extend throughout the United States, affecting various issues such as healthcare, infrastructure, income levels, environmental concerns, and housing instability.
US legislator Summer Lee (D-Pa.) has recently criticized US arms exports to the occupied territories, highlighting that it fails to address the broader challenges faced by Americans.
In contrast to the chief executives of companies like Lockheed Martin and RTX, Lee pointed out that individuals such as
“moms who can’t afford childcare, young folks who can’t pay off their debt, veterans who can’t keep up with housing costs, and children who go to school hungry don’t have million-dollar lobbying budgets.”
While this is ongoing, Big Pharma criminals are happy, too, now that the limelight is stolen away from their blatant culpability in the millions victimized by their mRNA experimental gene editing, cancer causing, mass injections worldwide.