Israel’s new military drones are already being used in war zones, and the government has been making a lot of noise about the need to increase drone use.
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon announced plans last week to deploy around 100 drones, and on Tuesday, the government published a document describing the program, which includes a new class of unmanned aircraft, the IKI, as “the most advanced and versatile aerial vehicle in the world.”
Yaalon’s office declined to comment on the drone program when contacted by The Jerusalem POST, but a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Defense said the drones will “be used in the battlefields, humanitarian operations, and defense of the State of Israel, the country and its citizens, and will be used to protect Israel’s borders, protect the citizens of Israel from terrorist attacks, protect citizens of other countries, protect Israel from the consequences of foreign aggression, and protect the people of Israel in their everyday life.”
But some critics worry that the drones could be used in Israeli attacks on civilian targets in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has already used unmanned aircraft in the war against Hamas, and Israeli officials have repeatedly stressed that their drone program is aimed at protecting the country from terrorism.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that uses drone technology for attack, and critics have accused Israel of using drones to target civilian targets without a legal justification.
Some have also expressed concerns about Israel’s use of drones for surveillance, which they say violates international law.
But Yaalon is expected to announce the new drone program this week, and Israel’s defense minister has repeatedly said that Israel is “not at war” with Hamas, despite the fact that the Gaza conflict has killed hundreds of civilians and injured hundreds of thousands.
“Israel has not fought a war with Hamas.
We are in a war against terror,” Yaalon said last year.
“We do not have a military operation against Hamas.”
In a recent speech to a gathering of the National Council for Peace and Democracy, Yaalon argued that the war on terror had “not only led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, but has also created the conditions for the development of weapons of mass destruction and to the development in Syria of the very same weapons that we are using in our country, and for which Israel has launched a full-scale war.”
Yaarno has also said that drones would be used against terrorist groups that “pose a threat to Israel’s national security.”
But critics have noted that drones were first deployed to combat Islamic militants in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and that Israel’s drone program has been controversial for years.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that over half of Israelis were in favor of Israel using drones for strikes on Palestinian targets in Gaza, and an overwhelming majority of respondents said they support “the government’s right to defend itself from any attack from any country,” according to a recent survey.
Some people argue that drones could lead to increased civilian casualties, and a recent report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime warned that Israel could “fall victim to a mass shooting” if it were to use drones.