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Iran Press TV

Swiss parliament backs Israeli drone deal worth $256mn

Iran Press TV

Sep 7, 2015 8:52PM

Switzerland's parliament has endorsed a plan by the government to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the Israeli regime.

Switzerland's upper house on Monday backed the plan with 30 votes in favor and 12 against the motion. Under the controversial plan, Switzerland will buy six Israeli Hermes 900 drones worth USD 256 million from the Israeli company Elbit Systems.

The lower house of parliament and government had previously authorized the plan to buy the drones.

On July 5, 2014, the Federal Office for Defence Procurement of Switzerland announced the selection of the Hermes 900 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones. The first drones of the contract are expected in the country by 2017.

Geraldine Savary, the representative for Switzerland’s Social Democratic Party, voiced her opposition to the plan, saying that the Tel Aviv regime used the drones during its latest deadly aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip.

The representative of Switzerland’s Green Party also expressed opposition to the plan, slamming Israel for human rights violations.

“Israel does not respect the rights of the population, and sometimes uses extremely violent means,” said Luc Recordon.

Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer, however, backed the plan, saying that the manufacturing company is a private one and the drones will be used only for surveillance by Swiss border guards.

“We have no intention of arming them,” Maurer said, adding, “There is no problem from a human rights perspective.”

There have been many protests against the plan in Switzerland. In May, Swiss activists held a protest against the deal in the central eastern city of Thun.

The activists blocked the entrance to one of Switzerland’s largest military bases in Thun, where a war drones presentation had been planned to be held.

The activists had called on the members of parliament to reject the deal.

Israel’s devastating summer war in 2014 claimed the lives of over 2,200 Palestinians and left over half a million more displaced. It also severely damaged more than 20,000 homes, 148 schools, 15 hospitals, and 45 clinics.

According to a report by the Palestinian rights group Defense for Children International, 512 Palestinian children were killed in Israel’s aggression against the besieged Palestinian territory. It is said that 164 children were killed in the regime's drone attacks.



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