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Report Says Israeli Firm Chosen to Help Build Trump's Wall in Mexico as Netanyahu Visits

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. | Photo: Reuters sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. | Photo: Reuters
As Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares for talks with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on the latest stage of his Latin American tour, a report says an Israeli company is among those chosen to build a prototype for the border wall between the United States and Mexico.

The Jerusalem Post says Elta North America, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries with a U.S. headquarters in Maryland, was one of eight picked to produce prototypes for the project, which will be a combination of concrete and so-called "smart," or see-through, walls.

The firm makes radar systems and components for branches of the U.S. military.

It also provides radar components for the Israeli military, which makes the purchases using U.S. military aid that must be spent in the United States.

Elta was chosen to work on the see-through walls project and the final project could cost up to US$25 billion.

Netanyahu's recent support for President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S.-Mexican border will likely provoke sizeable demonstrations during his trip.

In the past, Trump has praised the Israelis for their own southern border wall meant to stop unauthorized migration by African refugees.

In January he tweeted, "President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea."

The tweet generated waves of anger among social media users in Mexico, including a response from the country's Foreign Ministry expressing "surprise, rejection and disappointment" over the Israeli leader's remark.

The Israelis are also the only country with which Mexico enjoys a free trade agreement. Israeli-Mexico trade amounted to US$905 million in 2016, making Israeli the largest trading partner of Mexico in the Middle East.

Mexico is the latest stop on Netanyahu's Latin American tour after Argentina and Colombia.

Netanyahu has been met by a series of protests during his visit, the first of its kind to the region for a sitting Israeli prime minister.

In Argentina, Netanyahu was greeted by posters accusing him of executing genocidal policies against the Palestinian people, including ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.

Palestine solidarity groups in Mexico are planning more.

While in Bogota, he signed a series of bilateral agreements with the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

He also tried to drum up support again for his opposition to Tehran.

"Iran's terrorist ties are everywhere, including Latin America, and we believe that all countries should unite as Israel is collaborating with Arab countries to prevent aggression and terror from spreading," Netanyahu said after meeting Santos.

Protesters said he should not have been allowed to Colombia.

During his visit to Argentina earlier this week, he signed several agreements on security, taxation and air space collaboration.

But his main focus was on Iran and the Argentine President Mauricio Macri promised to work "together with Israel in the fight against terrorism."

Demonstrators came out in force to denounce the Israeli government's policies towards the Palestinian people, while a major security operation was conducted to seal off the main streets of downtown Buenos Aires. The demonstration was joined by members of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, and dozens of other civil society groups and organizations.

"We will march in repudiation of the presence of this genocide and in solidarity with the Palestinian people," said Tilda Rabi, the president of the Federation of Argentine-Palestinian Entities.

  • Countries: Latin America

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