Sunday, July 24, 2011

Despite ban, France buys Israeli drones

The Heron TP (file photo)

Source: Press TV

The French defense ministry has decided, after a four-decade-long weapons sales embargo on Israel, to purchase Heron TP drones from Tel Aviv.

The decision, made last week, will put an end to a 42-year weapons sales ban to Israel placed by the then French President Charles de Gaulle, Ha'aretz reported.

De Gaulle declared the ban on June 2, 1967. Only three days after the Six-Day War began.

Israel had at the time purchased several Mirage jets and missile boats from France. However, as the embargo was enforced, Israel never received the military equipment.

De Gaulle and the French government at the time had warned Israel that it was a mistake to occupy the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. They further refused to recognize Israel's control of Jerusalem.

The move to buy Israeli drones marks a shift in Paris' policy towards Tel Aviv.

This will be the first time the drone, produced by Israel's Aerospace Industry is purchased by a foreign country.

Israel's Aerospace Industry has yet refused to comment on the deal. This comes while an unnamed security industry official has called the deal “a truly and historically coming full circle.”

Heron TP is suspected to have been used for the first time in January 2009 when Israel launched a war on the impoverished Gaza Strip.

The 22-day Israeli onslaught took the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians and left thousands more injured. It also inflicted over USD 1.6 billion in damages on the territory's economy.

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