MANPADS Conference

On 5-6 April 2006 the Israel Foreign Ministry will host a conference on MANPADS – Man Portable Air Defense Systems. Israel wishes to contribute to international efforts to reduce the threat of MANPADS in the hands of terrorists by holding an international conference with the participation of some 30 states.

Man Portable Air Defense Systems, also known as MANPADS are widely recognized as a legitimate means of defense for states. However, they are attractive to terrorist organizations and could have a devastating impact if used against civil aviation. The relatively low cost of this weapon system compared to the high cost of protecting civilian aircrafts makes this type of weapon a potential threat to peace and security.
The November 2002 terrorist attack on a civilian Israeli aircraft in Mombasa, as well as reports on the use of MANPADS in other places underlines the threat of MANPADS to civil aviation. The Mombasa attack raised the awareness in the international community to its dangers and the need to identify effective measures to reduce this threat. This international concern has been clearly manifested in the adoption of two United Nations General Assembly resolutions (59/90 and 60/77) by consensus year after year. In addition, the United Nations Security Council acknowledged this threat in its Resolution 1617 (2005) dealing with Al-Qaida, with the same degree as the threat of WMD terrorism.
The problem of illicit proliferation and use of MANPADS encompasses a variety of issues, such as the control and monitoring of these types of weapon, preventing their transfer to non-state actors, in particular terrorists, airport security, aircraft protection, scientific cooperation, collection and destruction of old and surplus missiles, safeguarding storage facilities, technological improvements to prevent unauthorized use, etc.
Enhancing the international measures to reduce the threat of MANPADS in the hands of terrorists can contribute to creating international standards and norms that would better address this problem. The government of Israel on many occasions expressed its concern over the danger of MANPADS in the hands of terrorists. Israel therefore wishes to contribute to these ongoing efforts by holding an international conference on MANPADS with the participation of some 30 states.