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"The art of war"

Gaza: on whose side is Italy?

| Rome (Italy)
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Intervening in the House of Representatives on the “Gaza Crisis”, the Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini invited parliament and public opinion “not to cede to the logic of taking sides, to the idea that we have to make a choice between our Israeli friends and our friends in Palestine; that we must choose on which side of the conflict we lie.” In actual fact, Italy has, for some time already, made its up its mind, institutionalizing in the form of a law (with substantial bipartisan support) its military cooperation with Israel.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Italian – Israeli Military Cooperation, ratified in 2005 by the Senate (thanks to the votes of the Democratici di Sinistri-Ulivo aligning with the Centre-Right) and the House of Representatives, became Law no. 94 of 17 May. The cooperation between the Defense Ministers and Armed Forces of Italy and Israel regards “the importation, export and transit of military materials”, “the organization of armed forces” and the “training and education”. To this end, are scheduled “meetings of Defense Ministers and the Military Heads” of the two countries “to exchange experiences between the experts”, organize activities for training and exercise”, arrange for the “participation of observers to military drills”. The law also provides for “cooperation on research, development and production” of military technology through “the exchange of technical data, information and hardware”. Furthermore, it encourages “respective industries in research on projects and materials” of common interest.

On the footing of this law, our country’s armed forces and military industry has been involved in many activities none of which have been disclosed (not even to Parliament). Indeed, the law provides that such activities are “subject to a security agreement” and therefore secret. Since Israel has nuclear weapons, it may also use Italian high technology secretly to strengthen the offensive capabilities of the Israeli nuclear carriers.

In this context, Italy is providing Israel with the first of its 30 M-346 planes for advanced training. These planes, constructed by Alenia Aermacchi (Finmeccanica), can also be used for fighting in attacks on the ground in real war operations. A large part of costs (400 million of a billion dollars) is advanced to Israel by a consortium formed by Unicredit and an associated pension fund. In its turn, Italy has undertaken to purchase from Israel (at a cost of more than a billion dollars) the optical high resolution satellite system, Optsat-3000, that serves to identify targets to strike, plus two Gulfstream 550 airplanes that, transformed by Israel Aerospace Industries, function as command and control for attack in distant war theatres. This is only the tip of the iceberg of an agreement – an agreement not only military but also political, under which Italy in fact helps Israel to suffocate, with the choking up of blood, the right of the Palestinians, a right that is recognized by the UN, to have its own sovereign state.

Anoosha Boralessa

Il Manifesto (Italy)

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