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AOAV: all our reportsWho is arming Israel?

Who is arming Israel? Other Global Exports to Israel 

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.

  • Germany is the second-largest arms exporter to Israel, comprising 30% of its arms imports. In 2023, Germany licensed €326.5 million in munitions to Israel, a tenfold increase from the previous year. 
  • France has confirmed licensing components for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system. 
  • The Netherlands’ Court of Appeal identified a substantial risk of Israel using F-35 jets in violation of international humanitarian law, leading to a ban on exporting F-35 parts to Israel. 
  • Canada has continued to arm Israel despite previously stating it will halt all future direct arms shipments to Israel, citing uncertainties over compliance with its export regulations.
  • Other nations, such as Belgium, Italy, Slovenia and Norway, are restricting, though not necessarily ending all, arms sales/transfers to Israel.
  • Between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from EU States to Israel totalled almost €6.3 billion. 

The following countries are reported on in order of quantity of recorded sales to Israel:

Germany
Germany emerges as the second-largest arms supplier to Israel, contributing 30% of its arms imports from 2019 to 2023, according todata from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Notably, last year Germany’s arms exports to Israel surged to €326.5 million – a tenfold increase from the previous year, where the total value of approved licences amounted to €32.3 million. 185 individual export permits were approved between October 7th and November 2nd alone, according to TagesschauFurther, data compiled by Forensic Architecture shows that since 2003, Germany has authorised 4,427 arms export licences to Israel, with a value of up to €3.3 billion. Between 1st January and 21st February 2024, Germany approved individual export licences with a combined value of over €9 million, €32,499 worth of which was reportedly for ‘war weapons’. Germany’s exports to Israel are largely made up of air defence and communications equipment. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration has consistently advocated for Israel’s right to defend itself,asserting that exports to Israel would be processed and approved as a priority. However, the investigative unit Forensic Architecture’s detailed analysis of German exports to Israel reveals that 17 licences were issued to Israel in 2023 for bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles and other explosive devices and charges. Furthermore, in January 2024 Der Spiegel reported that Germany had agreed to Israel’s request to deliver 10,000 rounds of 120mm tank ammunition that is produced by Germany’s largest arms manufacturer Rheinmetall

Despite six months of unwavering support for Israel, pressure is slowly mounting in Germany to suspend arms sales. A group of 600 German civil servants have demanded that Chancellor Scholz cease arms deliveries to Israel immediately, asserting that Israel is committing crimes in Gaza that are in contradiction of international law. In recent months, Germany has deployed a crackdown of protestors and public officials who support Palestine and a critical approach to arms exports to Israel. Simultaneously, Germany has been brought to the International Court of Justice by Nicaragua, alleging that Germany has breached its obligation to prevent genocide. Tania von Ulsar-Gleichen, legal adviser for the German foreign ministry, told the court that “Germany’s history is the reason why Israel’s security has been at the core of Germany’s foreign policy”. 

On the 5th April 2024, Germany voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution calling on countries to not transfer weapons, ammunition and military equipment to Israel. Similarly to the US and the UK, Germany has adopted a policy of ‘maximised protection’ for Israel by cutting its funding to the UNRWA, despite Israel having not yet provided evidence for its claims.

France
On the 26th March 2024 the French Defence Minister, Sébastien Lecornu, denied allegations made by investigative websites Disclose and Marsactu, which asserted that France is supplying components for ammunition used by the Israeli army. In their article, Disclose and Marsactu stated that Marseille-based firm Eurolinks had sold Israel M27 links, used to join rifle cartridges into ammunition belts for machine guns which “could have been used against civilians in the Gaza strip”. Disclose and Marsactu have issued photos of the links asserting that the pictures were taken on the 23rd October 2023. French MP, Mathilde Panot, leader of the La France Insoumise, has asserted that Lecornu is lying and that France must stop the delivery of all weapons to Israel. Lecornu has since confirmed that France has issued licences for parts of Israel’s “Iron Dome ” missile defence system.​​ Between 2014-2022 France provided Israel with the second highest value of export licences globally worth €2.5 billion. French components have previously been used in the killing of Palestinian civilians. In July 2014, 8-year-old Afnan Shuheibar, her 16 year old brother Oday and their three cousins aged 8 to 11, were killed by a missile lettered ‘EUROFARAD PARIS FRANCE’. Eurofad, in addition to other French manufacturers including Thalès, are facing charges in France over ‘complicity in war crimes’. France abstained on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

Romania
CAAT data shows that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences between 2014-2022 totalled €427 million. The majority of these licences pertain to aircraft-related transfers, totalling €62 million. In addition, Romania has transferred exports related to vehicles/tanks, explosive devices and ammunition. Elbit Systems operates in Romania, owning three companies and four factories with over 500 employees, including AE Electronics in Băcau, Simultec Măgurele and two Elmet factories in Băcau and Bucharest. Like France, Romania abstained on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

Columbia
From 2014 to 2022, Columbia’s military exports to Israel amounted to a substantial $285m. The absence of detailed information on these exports does not diminish the notable financial magnitude of Colombia’s contributions.

India
Over the span from 2014 to 2022, India emerged as a prominent supplier of military goods to Israel, with transactions amounting to $258.11m. The exports encompassed a diverse range of products: from cartridges, munitions of war, to the finer parts of ammunition and projectiles. The deal also covered traditional combat weapons such as swords, cutlasses, and bayonets, including the essential lances anad scabbards. Air gun pellets and segments of shotgun cartridges were also included, showcasing the depth and variety of India’s defense exports to Israel.

Czech Republic
CAAT data reveals that between 2014-2022, the Czech Republic has transferred over €127 million worth of export licences, including ammunition, vehicles/tanks and small arms. In October 2023, it wasreported that Czech arms company STV Group was set to deliver 3,000 ballistic vest plates to Israel and that the relevant Czech ministries had already granted required licences for their export.

Slovakia
CAAT data outlines that between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Slovakia to Israel totalled €117 million, including €12 million worth of exports related to vehicles and tanks. The Slovak company MSM Group has previously stated that it has transferred Dana-M1 systems and RM-70 rocket launchers to Israel.

Spain
In January 2024, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, stated that Spain had not sold arms to Israel since the 7th October. However, according to research conducted by Centre Delàs, Spain transferred €987,000 worth of ammunition to Israel in November 2023. Data obtained from CAAT transfer registers show that the value of export licences from Spain to Israel between 2014-2022 totalled €99 million, including the transfer of ammunition, vehicles/tanks and explosive devices.

Bulgaria
CAAT transfer registers show that between 2014-2022 the total value of export licences between Bulgaria and Israel total €49 million, including €11 million worth of explosive devices and €8 million worth of small arms. On the 5th April 2024, Bulgaria was one of six countries to vote against a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution that called “to cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel”. 

Belgium
From 2014 to 2022, CAAT data reveals that Belgium has transferred €46 million worth of arms to Israel, including explosives, small arms and aircraft components. In February 2024, the local government of the Walloon region in Belgium suspended two licences for ammunition exports to Israel, given to the manufacturer PB Clermont in early 2023. Christophe Collignon, a minister at the Walloon parliament, referred to the ICJ’s ruling (see above) as a determining factor in suspending the licences. Belgium voted yes on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

South Korea
From 2014 to 2022, South Korea authorized military equipment exports to Israel, valued at $43.7m. The extensive inventory comprised cartridges, components thereof, and a broad spectrum of munitions and war ammunition, including projectiles and their parts. The exports further included an array of edged weapons such as swords, bayonets, and lances, complemented by their protective scabbards. Additionally, air gun pellets and elements of shotgun cartridges were part of the consignment, signifying a comprehensive supply to the Israeli defense sector.

Austria
CAAT arms transfer registers outline that the total value of export licences from Austria to Israel between 2014-2022 reached €33 million, with over €5.6 million of ‘kinetic weapons’ transferred in this timeframe. Further, according to data from the European Network against Armstrade, arms transfers from Austria to Israel increased dramatically in 2016 twenty-seven-fold and have continued to increase each year since. Austria has previously applied diplomatic pressure through conditioning military transfers to Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and called for a EU-wide halt in arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Canada
The Canadian government previously stated it will halt all arms shipments to Israel, noting it cannot be fully assured that Israel is complying with Canada’s export regime. However, it has since beenrevealed that the Canadian government’s pledge only applied to export permits that had not yet been approved. Data revealed in February 2024 showed that the Trudeau Government had authorised $28.5 million worth of new military exports to Israel since October. $18.4 million was categorised in the first two months since 7th October as covering “electronic equipment”, whilst an additional $9.2 million worth of permits included “Aircraft”, “Unmanned aerial vehicles”, amongst other aircraft related equipment and components

Brazil
Brazil’s arms exports to Israel from 2014 to 2022 reached a significant $23.14m. These arms exports included hand guns, revolvers, pistols, and muzzle-loading firearms, along with shotguns and shotgun rifles designed for sport, hunting, or targeting practices.

Netherlands
In February, the Court of Appeal in The Hague stated that there is “a clear risk that Israel’s F-35 fighter jets might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law”. The courtordered the Netherlands government to block the export of all F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel over the “undeniable” risk. CAAT arms registers show that the value of export licences from the Netherlands to Israel totalled €19 million between 2014-2022, peaking in 2022 with €10m worth of export licences transferred in that year alone.The Netherlands abstained on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

Malta
CAAT’s arms transfer register reveals that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Malta to Israel totalled over €17.5 million.

Hungary
Between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Hungary to Israel reportedly totalled over €15 million. In August 2023, it was reported by AP that Hungary had signed an agreement to manufacture combat drones in Zalaegerszeg in cooperation with Israeli and German companies, including Israeli company UVision and Germany’s largest manufacturer Rheinmetall. In February 2024, Hungary blocked fellow EU foreign ministers from formally asking Israel to not go forward with its planned and widely criticised Rafah offensive where most Palestinian IDPs are located.

Serbia
Serbia’s main state-owned arms manufacturer, Yugoimport-SDPR, reportedly exported arms worth €14 million to Israel in March 2024. Two major arms or ammunition shipments to Israel have taken place since October 2023 according to BIRN, however these deals are shrouded in secrecy. Serbia has previously transferred €780,000 worth of goods to Israel from the state-owned ammunition production factory Prvi Partizan in Uzice, Western Serbia in March and April 2023. Following a Freedom of Information Request made by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) in March 2024, the Serbian Ministry for Trade rejected their request, asserting that the data was “strictly confidential”.

Italy
Italy ranks as the third-largest supplier of military equipment to Israel, contributing a 0.9% to Israel’s total arms imports from 2019 to 2023. The exports have mainly consisted of helicopters and naval artillery. According to Italy’s national statistics bureau, ISTAT, the value of these arms sales reached €13.7 million last year. Notably, between October and December, Italy approved exports worth €2.1 million, despite previous government statements suggesting a halt on arms sales to nations engaged in conflict or accused of human rights violations. Defence Minister Guido Crosetto clarified to the parliament that Italy continued to fulfil its existing contracts after thorough reviews and that each contract was evaluated individually to ensure the exported materials could not be used against civilian populations, aligning with Italy’s regulatory framework on arms exports. CAAT data shows that between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Italy to Israel totalled €114 million, including licences related to warships, light weapons/artillery, aircrafts and ammunition.

Australia
According to trade figures, Australian arms and ammunition exports to Israel have totalled over $13 million over the last 5 years, including $2.3 million worth of transfers related to “arms and ammunition” in 2022. Australia has issued 350 defence export permits to Israel since 2017, including 52 permits in 2023 alone.

Portugal
CAAT’s arms transfer register shows that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Portugal to Israel was over €12.5 million, with most licences relating to aircraft-related goods.

Panama
In the years ranging from 2014 to 2022, Panama supplied Israel with military goods worth $10.66m. This included hand guns, revolvers, pistols, muzzle-loading firearms, shotguns, and shotgun rifles for sports, hunting, or targeting activities.

Greece
CAAT transfer data outlines that between 2014-2022 the total value of export licences between Greece and Israel reached €7.6 million from 21 licences.

Taiwan
In the timeframe from 2014 to 2022, Taiwan facilitated the export of military goods to Israel, totaling $7.5m. The lack of available details on the exports leaves the exact nature of these goods open to further clarification.

Slovenia
CAAT transfer registers reveal that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences between Slovenia and Israel was €6.1 million, including transfers related to vehicles/tanks and small arms. In January 2024, the Slovenian Defence Ministry confirmed that “Slovenia denied an export licence based on the defence law, which stipulates a refusal when exports would escalate or allow conflicts in the country that is the end-user of exported arms.”

Latvia
Between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Latvia to Israel totalled €5.9 million from 11 licences. €4.1 million worth of export licences were made in 2022.

Poland
Between 2014-2022, the value of export licenses from Poland to Israel totaled just shy of €4.9 million, with over €2 million related to explosive devices and explosives. Other licenses pertain to small arms transfers, vehicles/tanks, and ammunition.

Finland
Data from CAAT shows that between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Finland to Israel totals over €2.4 million, including the transfer of electronic equipment, armour and weapon sights. In November 2023, Finland signed a deal worth €317 million to purchase Israel’s ‘David’s Sling’ missile defence system, a move that sparked national criticism. Finland voted yes on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

China
China’s contribution to Israel’s military imports between 2014 and 2022 stood at $3.1m. The specifics of the exported materials have not been disclosed, yet this figure cements China’s position as a participant in equipping Israel’s defense capabilities.

Turkey
Turkey’s defense exports to Israel from 2014 to 2022 were valuedat $3m. The exported goods included cartridges, munitions of war, ammunition, projectiles and their parts, along with traditional warfare items such as swords, cutlasses, bayonets, lances, scabbards, air gun pellets, and elements of shotgun cartridges, reflecting a robust trade relationship in defense equipment.

Thailand
Thailand’s military exports to Israel from 2014 to 2022 amountedto $1.5m, focusing primarily on small arms and related items. This included hand guns, revolvers, pistols, and muzzle-loading firearms. The shipment also provided shotguns and specially designed shotgun rifles for sport, hunting, or target purposes.

Sweden
Between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Sweden to Israel was just shy of €1.3 million, with many licences relating to weapons sights and control systems. Swedish arms tracker, Svenska Freds, have claimed that Swedish exports to Israel have been ‘historically small’. However, in 2022 this saw a significant boost with over SEK 4.7 million (roughly €400,000 at the time of writing) of exports transferred to Israel. Svenska Freds claim that the Swedish export control authority, the Inspectorate for Strategic Products (ISP) has withheld exactly what military equipment was held. The transfer, listed as ‘Category 5’, likely relates to a transfer or surveillance and warning equipment, fire control, test and firing equipment or general components and accessories specifically designed for military use. At the end of October 2023, the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration signed a 10 year deal worth approximately $170 million with Elbit Systems.

Denmark
CAAT’s arms transfer register reveals that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Denmark to Israel was over €1 million, peaking in 2022 with €403,000. Information and Danwatch haverevealed that Danish components are used in the production and maintenance of Israeli F35s, which likely have been used in the bombardment of Gaza. In March 2024, it was reported that a group of NGOs, namely the local branches of Oxfam, Amnesty, Action Aid and Al-Haq had sued the Danish government over arms exports to Israel. Denmark is a signatory to both the ATT and EU Common Rules for Arms Exports, obliging Denmark to ensure that military exports from Danish companies do not risk contributing to violations of international law.

Croatia
Between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Croatia to Israel was just shy of €681,000, with licences relating to armour and ammunition.

Luxembourg
Between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Luxembourg to Israel totalled close to €671,000, with certain licences related to aircrafts. Luxembourg voted yes on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

Estonia
Between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Estonia to Israel totalled €321,000, with certain licences relating to the transfer of small arms.

Lithuania
Data from CAAT shows that between 2014-2022, the value of export licences from Lithuania to Israel totals over €310,000, including the transfer of imaging equipment. Lithuania abstained on the UNHRC’s April resolution to stop arms sales to Israel to “prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

Hong Kong
Between 2014 and 2022, Hong Kong’s reported military exports to Israel reached $0.224m. While details are not specified, the monetary value points to Hong Kong’s minor yet specific contributions to Israel’s military procurement.

Chile
Chile’s defense exports to Israel were relatively modest, totaling$0.2m between 2014 and 2022. The specifics of these exports are not detailed but contribute to Chile’s presence in the global arms trade.

Ireland
CAAT’s arms transfer register shows that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Ireland to Israel was over €127,000 from 2 licences relating to vehicles and tanks. Both licences were approved in 2014.

Cyprus
CAAT’s arms transfer register reveals that between 2014-2022, the total value of export licences from Cyprus to Israel was €97,000, related to the transfer of small arms. Despite this seemingly small number, Cyprus has potentially played a significant role in Israel’s surveillance and bombardment of Gaza. Reports have indicated that RAF Akrotiri, the UK Ministry of Defence’s base in Cyprus, has facilitated over 30 military transport flights to Tel Aviv since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza and the West Bank. These flights are believed to be transporting military personnel and equipment, but the nature of the cargo and the personnel remain undisclosed by the Ministry of Defence, citing reasons of “national security”. In the first month of Israel’s siege and bombardment of Gaza, Haaretz reported that “more than 40 US transport aircraft, 20 British transport aircraft and seven heavy transport helicopters arrived at the British Akrotiri base on the island. They carried equipment, arms and forces.” Parliamentary questions regarding the nature of these transports have been blocked by the British government in a highly unprecedented move.

Norway
Norwegian law asserts that the sale of weapons to Israel and other countries in war is prohibited. However, according to Norwegian Church Aid, a loophole in Norwegian law exists that allows Norwegian arms manufacturers to sell arms to Israel through foreign companies.Nammo, 50% owned by the Norwegian government, has a subsidiary in the US state of Arizona called Nammo Talley, which produces M72 anti-tank missiles amongst other weapons. Norwegian media outlet NRK has stated that a M72 rocket launcher has been seen used by Israel’s soldiers. The CEO of Nammo, Morten Brantzæg, has claimed that they are a ‘tiny player’ in the US and that they have little influence over the way in which US export licences are applied to their products. In an article posted by Norwegian media outlet Aftenposten, Nammo’s Director of Information, Thorstein Korsvold, defended Nammo, arguing that there is extensive misinformation about the company and its relationship to Israel. His main argument was that ‘Norwegian law does not apply in the USA’ and that ‘the country that makes the final product determines where you can export’. This argument, if accurate, outlines how countries that deploy strict export control regulations can have their decisions undermined through re-exports to third parties, underscoring the need for definitively more transparency in how arms are transferred between countries. 

Japan
Japanese company Itochu Corporation ended its cooperation with Elbit Systems in February 2024, following the ICJ’s findings (see above). Itochu’s CFO, Tsuyoshi Hachimura, stated that “taking into consideration the International Court of Justice’s order on January 26, and that the Japanese government supports the role of the Court, we have already suspended new activities related to the MOU, and plan to end the MOU by the end of February.”

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