"A surge in Israeli high-tech investment and the transfer of world-leading military technology is set to be unleashed next year with the expected sealing of a free trade agreement* between Australia and Israel. The signing of the FTA... will signal an even closer defence relationship between the two countries involving high-end robotic technology, smart missiles and unmanned aerial drones - military areas in which Israel is a world leader... Training exchanges involving Australian Defence Force personnel and its Israeli counterpart are likely to be finalised soon, [Yuval Rotem, Israel's ambassador] told The Australian yesterday. Confidential imports from Israel last year consisting of classified defence technology totalled $14 million - a figure projected for fast future growth." (Israel deal to boost defence, Mark Dodd, The Australian, 26/9/07)
[*On this subject, see my 11/4/09 post The Ambassador Reflects... : "There has been less progress than I expected [on a free-trade agreement]. It's still on the table. I know from the Australian point of view there is a desire to see a comprehensive deal..."]
"Kevin Rudd is set to announce Australia's biggest military build-up since World War II, led by a multi-billion-dollar investment in maritime defence, including 100 new F-35 fighters, a doubling of the submarine fleet and powerful new surface warships. The new defence white paper will outline plans for a fundamental shake-up of Australia's defence organisation to ensure that the nation can meet what the Prime Minister sees as a far more challenging and uncertain security outlook in Asia over the next two decades... Mr Rudd said yesterday the delivery of the white paper was proving 'acutely challenging as we work to defend ourselves from the global economic storm'... he told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce." (Revealed: Rudd's defence plans, Patrick Walters, The Australian, 25/4/09)
Rudd also said: "I further acknowledge the great work of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in hosting today's [24/4] function and in supporting the relationship between Australia and Israel and enabling me to confirm again publicly before you all what I have said throughout my political career that I am a lifelong friend of the State of Israel... Australia cannot support and will not support a document which reaffirms the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action. That 2001 declaration singled out Israel*. The inflammatory remarks of President Ahmadinejad of Iran at the conference are unacceptable and underlined the Australian Government's decision not to attend that conference. The Australian Government condemns the continued campaign of anti-Semitism on behalf of the government of Iran."
[* See my 26/4/09 post Controlling the Terminology. So "singling out Israel" is the reason we dumped on Durban II?!!!]
"New data released today [27/4/09] by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reveal a significant rise in arms transfers to the Middle East... The United States remains the world's largest exporter of military equipment, accounting for 31% of global arms exports for the period 2004-2008. During this period, 37% of US deliveries went to the Middle East... There were increasing volumes of transfers... to states involved in armed conflict in 2008, such as Afghanistan, Georgia, Israel, Pakistan, Sri Lanka." (Significant rise in arms deliveries to the Middle East, says SIPRI, defense-aerospace.com, 27/4/09)