Germany’s arms sales to Israel increased tenfold since October 7

IDF IOF Tank Tanks
(File photo: Jordan News)
On Sunday, Al-Ghad reported that Germany and Britain top the list of European countries that continue to support the Israeli occupation with weapons, despite the latter facing charges of genocide in Gaza by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and increasing pressure from human rights organizations.اضافة اعلان

While the US is the largest traditional supplier of weapons to the occupation, Germany and Britain have also provided significant support to Israel for many years.

According to current data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the US supplied 70.2 percent of the traditional weapons to the occupation during the period 2011–2020, followed by Germany at 23.9 percent and Italy at 5.9 percent.

According to the British non-governmental organization Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Germany and the UK do not transparently disclose their weapons exports. However, based on information obtained from open sources, the German government approved the sale of weapons worth at least 1.4 billion euros to the occupation during the period 2015–2020.

During the same period, the UK sent warplanes, missiles, tanks, light aircraft, and weapons to the occupation. Military exports amounted to 426 million euros, including weapon components and ammunition. These figures do not include German and British weapons exports to the occupation through third-party countries.

German complicity raises red flags
According to a report regarding the approval of arms sales to foreign countries issued by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the country’s sales of weapons and military equipment to the occupation increased tenfold last year compared to 2022, reaching 326.5 million euros.

In the early weeks after the start of the occupation’s attacks on Gaza on October 7, 2023, the German government approved an additional 185 requests for licenses to export weapons supplies to the occupation.

While Germany has so far agreed to send armored vehicles and protective equipment to the occupation, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on January 17 that the government is reviewing a shipment of High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) ammunition requested by the occupation and plans to approve it.

The Israeli government requested over 10,000 120mm tank shells from Germany in November last year, and this request was discussed with utmost confidentiality by the German Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Economy.

The UK’s long-time relationship with the occupation
Since 1967, Britain has supplied military equipment to the Israeli occupation, including approximately 15 percent of the components for the F-35 fighter jets used in Gaza airstrikes.

Within the F-35 project, six different British companies participate, two of which sell missiles to the occupation. Additionally, some companies, such as the Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems, have licenses for trading military equipment in the UK.

The Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq and the UK-based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) have filed a legal challenge against Britain in the UK High Court on December 13, 2023. They argue that the British government’s export licenses for weapons capable of being used in Israel’s actions in Gaza violate international law. These licenses cover various categories, including components for military radars, targeting equipment, combat aircraft, naval vessels, and more. Since 2015, there have been 472 million pounds in limited-value standard license grants and 58 unlimited-value open licenses to Israel. The latter lacks transparency and allows for unlimited quantities.

Italy’s response
As for Italy, the public response to the Israeli war on Gaza has been prominent. On November 16, the leader of the opposition party Five Star Movement, former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, called for an immediate suspension of arms supplies to the occupation. Similarly, the main opposition leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, urged the government to halt arms sales to the occupation on January 20, emphasizing that Italy cannot risk selling ammunition that could be considered a war crime.

The situation remains critical, with international attention focused on the conflict and the devastating impact on civilians in Gaza. The need for accountability and adherence to international humanitarian law is more urgent than ever.

As reactions escalated, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani stated on January 20 that Italy had decided to halt arms shipments to the occupation starting on October 7. According to Tajani, no type of weapon has been sent since that date.

However, the Italian-made weapons that were previously provided to the occupation are currently being tested by the occupation in Gaza. For instance, the 76mm naval gun, produced by the Italian defense company Leonardo S.p.A., was used by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) for the first time in Gaza.

Spain's contradictory arms sales claims
Spain has also suspended arms sales. The Spanish peace organization Delàs Center for Peace Studies revealed that Spain continued to export 987,000 euros worth of ammunition to Israel in November, contradicting the government’s claim that weapon exports to Tel Aviv had ceased since October. The Spanish political sphere expressed outrage in response to this revelation.

French arms sales to Israel spark outrage
In France, the Ministry of Defense reported that the country sold nearly 200 million euros worth of weapons to the occupation during the period 2013–2022. French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu stated that France primarily provides intelligence support to the occupation.

Activists held a demonstration outside the headquarters of the French defense company Dassault Aviation, condemning all French companies selling weapons to Israel and their complicity in the war in Gaza. Opposition lawmakers from the France Unbowed party also signed a petition urging an end to arms sales to Israel.

“We have been informed of South Africa’s new request for interim measures regarding the ICJ,” responded French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christophe Lemoine regarding whether France plans to suspend arms shipments to the occupation after the ICJ’s decision.

“This request is being prepared for prosecution, and the measures (precautionary) requested by the court are legally binding and consistent with France’s stated desires,” he added. “We are committed to respecting international law and reiterate our support and confidence in the ICJ.”

On February 12, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, urged EU member states to halt arms exports to Israel.

Borrell’s message directly concerns Germany, as Britain is not a member of the EU, and Italy and Spain have already ceased supplying weapons to Israel.

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