Key suppliers of arms to Israel: Who halted weapon exports?

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

The United States has suspended a shipment of weapons to Israel, including heavy and bunker-buster bombs, amid concerns over their impact on civilian areas. This decision came in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice to continue military operations in the Gaza Strip despite objections from Washington.

As the largest arms provider to Israel, the US decision marks a significant development in the ongoing conflict. Following the US, Germany, and Italy are among the top suppliers of arms to Israel. However, Canada and the Netherlands have halted exports due to fears of potential violations of international humanitarian law.

United States:

A shipment of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs has been suspended by US officials, citing concerns about their use in densely populated areas like Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Under a 10-year memorandum of understanding signed in 2016, the US pledged $38bn in military aid to Israel, with a significant portion allocated for purchasing military equipment and missile defence systems. Israel, as the first country to operate the F-35, has received substantial military aid from the US, including support for the Iron Dome missile defence system and funding for interceptor missiles.

Germany:

German defence exports to Israel surged in 2023 following heightened tensions in the region. Berlin prioritized permit requests after 7 October. However, approvals for military exports to Israel have decreased since the beginning of this year, with only a fraction of requested shipments authorized by the German government. Most of Germany’s exports to Israel consist of components for air defence systems and communications equipment, with a notable increase in portable anti-tank weapons and ammunition.

Italy:

Italy, another major arms supplier to Israel, has halted new export approvals since the start of the Gaza conflict. While existing orders were delivered in November, Italian law prohibits arms exports to countries engaged in conflicts or violating human rights. Despite this, Italy continues to export arms to Israel for previously signed orders, subject to verification that the weapons will not be used against civilians in Gaza.

Britain:

While not a primary arms supplier, Britain grants export licenses for defence equipment to Israel, mostly within US supply chains. Despite concerns raised by opposition parties regarding civilian casualties in Gaza, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that the UK’s strict licensing regime remains unchanged.

Canada:

Canada suspended arms export licenses to Israel in January, with the freeze continuing until Ottawa ensures compliance with humanitarian law. Despite this suspension, new licenses worth millions of Canadian dollars were allowed after the escalation of tensions in the region.

Netherlands:

The Dutch government suspended shipments of F-35 parts to Israel in February following a court ruling citing potential violations of humanitarian law. The government is currently appealing this decision.

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