** In April 2009, Motorola Israel sold its Government Electronics Department (GED) unit that produced fuses for the Israeli military to the Israeli company Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd., a close partner of Motorola Israel, with whom Moto Israel co-develops other technologies.
Motorola Israel has been the leading Israeli designer and manufacturer of fuzes for bombs and guided munitions used by the Israeli military, according to a website of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. It has been the central provider of fuzes to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and to a number of Israel’s military-industrial corporations, including Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael, which themselves design missiles and precision weapons, among other military products.
Motorola Israel’s fuzes have been used in cluster bombs, ‘bunker-buster’ bombs, and a variety of other bombs. These fuzes determine when and how certain munitions are detonated.
Cluster munitions are a notorious anti-personnel device whose export was recently banned by the US government. Each cluster bomb is composed of hundreds of exploding 'bomblets' that spray metal shrapnel over a large area. Cluster bombs also typically leave behind unexploded 'bomblets' which continue to pose a lethal threat, much like landmines, after military conflict has ended.
During the 2006 Lebanon war, Israeli forces fired some 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million bomblets, into southern Lebanon. These cluster munitions had a failure rate of 14%, and left behind at least 100,000 unexploded bomblets. The United Nations determined in 2007 that 26 percent of southern Lebanon's cultivatable land remained affected by cluster bombs.
Motorola also has made ‘proximity’ fuses which cause bombs to detonate in the air just above ground (prior to impact), producing an aerial fireball, and ‘delay’ fuses which may be timed to explode up to 48 hours after combat deployment.
Motorola Israel has exhibited its munitions products at several global defense trade expositions, among them the International Air and Space Fair 2008 and Seoul Air Show 2007.
Initially, no explanation was offered in the media reports for the sale by Motorola Israel. Later, Motorola spokesman Rusty Brashear said the sale of the unit was not triggered by the protests. “We’re selling it primarily because it doesn’t fit in our portfolio,” Brashear said. “We’ve been getting out of all our military units, except for communications.”
The sale came after several groups in the U.S. had been drawing attention to Motorola Israel’s support for Israeli apartheid, and only days after the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel launched the “Boycott Moto, Boycott Apartheid” campaign.