Categories

AOAV: all our reportsWho is arming Israel?

Who is arming Israel? US 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.

  • The Biden administration has upheld strong military support for Israel with $23 billion in arms transfers supplied since the 7th October, 2023.
  • Over 100 undisclosed military sales to Israel, including advanced munitions, have been approved since the 7th October, 2023.
  • 69% of Israeli arms imports are from the US; actual figures may be higher due to non-transparent transfer processes. 
  • The US State Department authorised a $2.5 billion transfer of F-35A jets to Israel without the usual Congressional notification.
  • Despite setting ‘red lines’, the US continues to supply Israel with heavy munitions like MK84 and MK82 bombs, previously linked to high civilian casualties in Gaza. 

According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United States remains the primary source of military hardware for Israel, providing 69% of its arms imports between 2019 and 2023. However, the actual figure could be higher or lower due to the overwhelming lack of transparency regarding US arms transfers. US arms transfers routinely bypass Congressional oversight to avoid public scrutiny. Under a 10-year deal, the US supplies Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid annually, aimed at ensuring Israel’s qualitative edge over its neighbours. 

This aid has enabled Israel to purchase advanced equipment, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Israel has ordered a reported 75 of these planes, receiving more than 30 to date. A significant portion of the aid, $500 million annually, is allocated for missile defence systems, including the Iron Dome, Arrow, and David’s Sling. These systems are deemed crucial for Israel’s defence against threats from various fronts, including rocket and missile attacks from Gaza and other regions. 

Following the events of the 7th October, the United States initiated significant arms transfers to Israel. By December 25th, over 10,000 tons of military hardware worth $2.4 billion had been delivered via 244 aircraft and 20 naval vessels. This arsenal included upwards of 15,000 bombs and 50,000 artillery rounds, all within the initial six weeks. Specifically, the US authorised the transfer of over 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs to Israel and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs. The MK84 bomb has been previously linked to mass-casualty events throughout Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.These sales and transfers have been criticised for having been conducted with a lack of transparency and limited Congressional oversight. 

From October 2023 to early March 2024, over 100 military sales to Israel were authorised by the US, although details of just a fraction of these were made public. These sales include thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms, and other lethal aid. The three sales where details are known include two transfers in November and one sale of components in December 2023, totaling over $532 million.. A substantial portion of these arms were financed by American taxpayers through the Foreign Military Sales program, though Israel also allocated funds from its national budget for some purchases. 

Any delivery of supplemental military assistance is in addition to the yearly $3.8 billion provided through the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Israel and the US in 2016. April 2024 is also a key month to determine whether $14.1 billion in additional ‘security assistance’ will be provided as part of a potential Foreign Aid Bill. In March 2024, the US State Department also authorised the transfer of 25 F-35A fighter jets and engines worth roughly $2.5 billion. This case was approved by Congress in 2008, hence the department was not required to inform lawmakers again.

Beyond these publicised sales and transfers, there have been numerous smaller transactions aimed at bolstering Israel’s arsenal with precision-guided munitions and other critical supplies. Reports note that a pipeline deal involves the sale of up to 50 more F-15 fighter jets to Israel for $18 billion, pending Congressional approval. Senior figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren have voiced opposition to this deal, citing concerns over the conduct of operations in conflict zones. 

Of note, the US has failed to rigorously add conditionality to its military support, particularly in the wake of the blocking of aid to the North of the Gaza Strip and Israeli settlement expansion in Palestinian territory. White House officials have reaffirmed the notion that ‘conditioning aid (to Israel) has not been our policy’, legitimising the delivery of the aid in the echoed notion of ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’, without comment on the purported threat posed to Palestinian civilians. Similarly to the transfer of F35-As, this transfer was approved by Congress years prior, and thus does not require further scrutiny.

Finally, it is worth noting that Israel hosts a large US arms depot, established in 1984, which serves a dual purpose: it pre-positions supplies for US forces in the event of regional conflicts and provides Israel with rapid access to weapons during emergencies. A non-specified quantity of weaponry came from US military reserves located in Israel, under the War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) program, further complicating the ability to track the full extent of U.S. arms transfers due to the absence of a public inventory. Reports indicate that since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, Israel has received munitions from this stockpile to bolster its own arsenals.

The continued transfer of ‘unconditional’ military aid stands in contrast to the US’ immediate suspension of funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) following Israel’s accusation in January that 12 UNRWA staff were collaborating with Hamas. The US government suspended funding to the UNRWA despite Janez Lenarcic, the Head of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management at the European Commission, asserting that no evidence had been provided by Israel to back up the serious claim.

Key US companies involved in exporting to Israel:
US companies that are currently reported to have been involved in arms exports to Israel include: 

AeroVironment
This company’s involvement with the Israeli military appears to have included a request from Israel to purchase 200 Switchblade 600 Kamikaze drones, enhancing Israel’s unmanned aerial capabilities for precision strikes.

AM General
Their military vehicles, specifically the Humvee, have been utilised by the Israeli military in various operations, including supply convoys.

Boeing
Boeing has supplied the Israeli Air Force with F-15 fighter jets and Apache AH-64 attack helicopters, in addition to JDAM kits for converting unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions. These supplies have been used extensively in attacks, including those on Gaza, demonstrating Boeing’s significant role in augmenting Israel’s aerial attack capabilities.

Caterpillar
The supply of D9 armoured bulldozers to Israel, which have been used for military purposes, including ground invasions, and the demolition of structures, represents a direct provision of military-grade equipment.

Colt’s Manufacturing Company
A request from Israel for the purchase of 18,000 M4 and MK18 assault rifles led to a direct supply of small arms to the Israeli military by Colt.

Day & Zimmermann
Their production of artillery munitions and high explosive rounds used by the Israeli military, including those fired by Israel’s M109 howitzer guns, shows their significant role in providing the ordnance used in military operations against Gaza.

General Dynamics
This company’s role in supplying artillery ammunition and bomb bodies used by Israel in its assaults on Gaza directly ties it to the provision of critical military hardware used in conflict situations.

General Electric
GE’s manufacturing of engines for Boeing’s Apache helicopters, which have been used by Israel in attacks on Gaza, marks a direct contribution to the military aviation capabilities employed in combat operations.

General Motors
The provision of engines and transmission units for military vehicles used by the Israeli military underscores GM’s role in supporting the mobility and operational effectiveness of military ground forces.

Ghost Robotics
Supplying robotic systems like the Vision 60 robot dogs for use in Gaza points to a direct involvement in enhancing the surveillance and operational capabilities of the Israeli military with advanced robotics technology.

Lockheed Martin
The supply of F-16 and F-35 fighter jets, C-130 Hercules transport planes, and Hellfire missiles directly supports Israel’s air force and ground operations.

Oshkosh
The production of the Eitan armoured personnel carrier and other military vehicles for Israel shows direct involvement in providing armoured mobility solutions critical for ground operations.

Palantir Technologies
Providing AI-powered tools for data analysis and surveillance used by Israeli security forces directly contributes to the technological capabilities of Israel’s intelligence and security operations.

Raytheon Technologies (RTX)
RTX’s supply of guided missiles, defence systems like the Iron Dome interceptors, and other advanced weaponry directly supports Israel’s defence infrastructure, showcasing a significant contribution to Israel’s military capabilities.

_______________________________________________

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