Shir Hever is a PhD candidate at the Free University of Berlin, and a political economy researcher of the occupation. He’s a member of the Alternative Information Centre. His first book The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation has been published by Pluto Press.
Israel’s Security Industry as allocation of Resources to Elite Groups
There is no clear demarcation in Israel between the arms industry and the security industry, and the largest companies in the field all operate in both ends of the spectrum. The industry is highly connected with Israel’s security institutions: the military, police, prison authority and the intelligence organizations. The steady flow of employees from these institutions into the security industry defines the industry, and in a reciprocal way alters the security institutions themselves and Israel’s security policies.
The Israeli government diverts state resources to support the arms industry. Military aid, trade deals achieved through hard diplomatic work, trade benefits and direct public funds are all resources, which the security industry enjoys. Beyond that the occupation itself, the prestige of the Israeli military and the environment of fear from terrorism fanned by the government have all become essential resources to the security industry.
Despite of the allocation of state resources, in recent years the Israeli security elite has entered a deep crisis. The security industry is no longer successfully ensures lucrative employment for retired officers, other elite groups in Israel demand a reallocation of state resources, and the customers of the security industry (both in Israel and abroad) become increasingly disillusioned about the products offered by the industry.
Erella Grassiani is an assistant professor at the anthropology department of the University of Amsterdam. Her current research is part of a wider project on privatization and globalization of security with a specific focus on Israel and security mobilities (SECURCIT) at the department of Geography and International Development (UvA). It traces the flows of the (Israeli) security worldwide and look at the way (cultural) ideas, technologies and consultants move around globally. She is the author of Soldiering under Occupation processes of Numbing among Israeli soldiers in the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2013 Berghahn Books). She is also one of the founders and a board member of gate48.
Israeli Security Companies in an Increasingly Frightened World
In this short presentation Erella will speak about her current research on the Israeli security industry globally. She has done extensive fieldwork in Israel and shorter stints in Nairobi and Los Angeles, speaking to Israeli security professionals and visiting security fairs. During her talk she will trace the different ways Israeli security becomes ‘mobile’ and the relationship with a global sense of fear.
Ghada Zeidan is an expert on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, Middle East politics and Dutch and EU Foreign and aid policies in Palestine. With background in Development Studies Ghada conducted research on discourses and practices of Dutch development policies in Palestine in the aftermath of the Oslo Accords. Ghada is also founder and director of Palestine Link – an initiative of Palestinians in the Netherlands, which advocates Palestinian rights and promotes Palestinian interests.
The Peace and Security Nexus in Dutch Foreign and Development Aid Policies in Palestine
In her presentation Ghada will argue that Dutch conception of the inter-linkages between development aid and security in Palestine is informed by Dutch framing of the nature of the “conflict”, the requirements for “peace” and the relationship between conflict, peace, security and development. Dutch- Israeli bilateral relations, economic, military and security cooperation, and geopolitical interests are instrumental in shaping Dutch foreign and development aid discourses and policies in Palestine. Therefore, Dutch development policy choices in Palestine are political: Promoting ‘liberal peace’ and a (neo) liberal economic agenda to ensure governability of the Palestinians, stability, and security for Israel in particular. This approach of de-politicizing and securitizing development aid fails to address the structural violence and individual and collective insecurities of the Palestinians as a result of the repressive Israeli military colonial regime and the injustices of occupation, playing into the hand of exceptionalism and impunity for Israel.