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AOAV: all our reportsWho is arming Israel?

Who is arming Israel? Conclusion and recommendations

AOAV’s report ‘Who is arming Israel?‘ is an in-depth analysis of the arms sold or provided to Israel by the UK, US, and other nations, focusing on the continuation and expansion of arms exports despite allegations of war crimes by the Israeli armed forces, highlighting the lack of transparency and the profits made in arms exports.

Conclusion

The investigation into the arming of Israel by the UK, US, and other global suppliers offers a stark portrayal of the controversies embedded within international arms trade practices. Despite widespread international scrutiny and allegations of war crimes committed by the Israeli armed forces, significant military support for Israel persists, underpinned by multibillion-dollar deals, many shrouded in secrecy. This enduring support comes amidst growing calls for accountability and transparency, challenging the ethical and legal frameworks governing global arms exports. 

The United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, have been highlighted as steadfast allies, providing Israel with a substantial influx of military hardware and financial aid in the face of accusations of widespread and – on occasion – apparently deliberate civilian harm. Concerns over the US’s unilateral cuts to UNRWA funding and the UK’s disputed claims regarding the rigorous scrutiny of lethal weapon exports are also raised. Furthermore, the revelation of Germany’s increased arms exports to Israel and the soaring profits enjoyed by arms manufacturers like BAE Systems underscore the deep financial and strategic interests driving these military engagements. 

Amidst this backdrop, legal challenges, public protests, and calls from within the political spheres of these supplying countries for a reevaluation of military support to Israel are growing louder. 

These calls are not just about the legality of arms sales but also their morality, urging a reassessment of the role that such support plays in fueling conflict dynamics and impacting civilian lives. As nations grapple with their positions and responsibilities on the international stage, this investigation serves as a crucial reminder of the urgent need for a more transparent, ethical, and legally compliant international arms trade regime. 

The need for stringent oversight, transparency, and adherence to international legal standards in arms exports has never been more apparent. 

Recommendations

This analysis of arms supplies to Israel by the UK, US, and other nations highlights concerns regarding the adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law, transparency, and ethical considerations. The following recommendations are proposed to address these concerns and promote a more responsible and legally compliant international arms trade: 

  1. Enhance Transparency in Arms Exports: Governments should commit to greater transparency in their arms export practices by publicly disclosing details of all military sales and transfers, including those conducted through private manufacturers. This would include the nature, quantity, and recipients of arms exports. 
  2. Implement Strict Export Controls: Introduce and enforce stricter export control measures that rigorously assess the potential impact of arms exports on human rights and international humanitarian law. These controls should be based on comprehensive risk assessments that consider the end-use of the weapons and the human rights record of the receiving country. 
  3. Establish Independent Oversight Mechanisms: Create independent oversight bodies with the authority to review and veto arms export licences where there is a significant risk of contributing to human rights violations or breaches of international humanitarian law. 
  4. Adhere to International Arms Trade Treaties: Ensure full compliance with international treaties and agreements governing arms exports, such as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), including provisions related to human rights and conflict escalation. 
  5. Review and Reevaluate Existing Arms Export Policies: Regularly review and reevaluate arms export policies and practices in light of their outcomes and impacts on international peace and security, making necessary adjustments to ensure alignment with international legal standards and ethical considerations.

These modest recommendations aim to foster a more responsible global arms trade, one that prioritises the promotion of peace, the protection of human rights, and adherence to international law, while also addressing the challenges posed by the current practices of arms exports to Israel and other conflict-affected regions.

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For other parts of the report ‘Who is Arming Israel?‘ please see: