Swiss say no more drone tests in ‘occupied’ Golan

Switzerland’s defense ministry says 3 visits by officials to airfield in Golan Heights were ‘contrary’ to its foreign policy

Illustrative: Elbit's Hermes 900 UAV . (Courtesy/Elbit)
Illustrative: Elbit's Hermes 900 UAV . (Courtesy/Elbit)

Switzerland said Swiss officials would no longer be allowed to visit the Golan Heights, after admitting government personnel visited the “occupied territory” on three occasions to observe drone testing.

In a statement published Wednesday, the Swiss defense ministry said the officials visited the Pik airfield in the Golan in 2012, 2013 and 2015 to see flight tests of the Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle, which Switzerland is purchasing from Israel’s Elbit Systems.

It said the officials were not aware the airfield was located in “occupied territory” and their visits to the site were “contrary” to the policies of the country’s foreign ministry.

The statement added that no further trips to the airfield have taken place since it learned of the visits in August and that any further tests would take place in “recognized Israeli territory.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War with Syria and later extended Israeli law to the area in 1981, although the move was not recognized by the international community, much of which considers the Golan to still be part of Syria.

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