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European Union must end its military support for Israel

Press Release of European Network Against Arms Trade from 22nd of July 2014

As the conflict in the Gaza Strip continues to escalate, and the body count continues to increase the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) has called for an immediate end to all European military support for Israel and for the EU to declare a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties in conflict. Pending such an embargo, all EU states must immediately suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and ammunitions to the parties in conflict.

When taken together European countries are one of Israel’s main suppliers of military systems and equipment, behind only the US. In the last ten years EU countries have licensed around €2 billion of military contracts to Israel, including over €600 million in 2012 alone. This has included ammunition, weapon firing equipment and components for military aircrafts and vehicles. According to EU Reports, European countries have not sent arms or military systems to Palestine since 2002.

Dutch components of F16 fighters, Apache attack helicopters and Hellfire rockets end up with the Israeli armed forces through co-production agreements with US companies. Italy is the largest supplier in the European Union of military systems to Israel. Since the recent Israeli air raids on Gaza Strip began, Alenia Aermacchi (an Italian company controlled by the Finmeccanica group) sent the first two M-346 trainer aircraft to Israeli Air Force. Similarly, Spanish arms exports to Israel have doubled since 2008.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The sale of weapons doesn't just give Israel military support, it also gives it a strong political support. Europe has to use its influence to promote reconciliation, not fuel the cycle of war and conflict. An immediate embargo of all arms sales from EU countries to Israel and all parts in conflict is essential if the EU is to play a peacemaker role and to send a message that it does not support the actions of the Israeli government and the escalation of the conflict.

A number of European countries have a two-way relationship with Israel, with many spending millions of euros each year on 'battle-tested' arms from Israeli companies. One growing link is in the area of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.

For example, Spain has imported the Searcher unmanned aircraft from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). In 2005, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the UK awarded UAV Tactical Systems Ltd (U-TacS), a joint venture between Israeli arms company Elbit Systems and its partner company Thales UK, a contract which would ultimately be worth nearly £1 billion for the development of the Watchkeeper WK450 drones.

Giorgio Beretta of the Italian Disarmament Network commented: “We appreciate the call to all parties in the conflict for an immediate ceasefire expressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini. Accordingly, the Italian Government – which this semester holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and it is one of the major European exporter of military systems to Israel – should without delay promote actions leading to an EU embargo on weapons and military equipments to all parties in the conflict, in order to protect civilians and foster the resumption of negotiations”.

Signed by:

Bremen Foundation for Arms Conversion and Peace Research (Germany)

Campaign Against Arms Trade (UK)

Centre Delàs for Peace Studies (Spain)

Group Switzerland Without an Army – GSoA (Switzerland)

Stop Wapenhandel (The Netherlands)

Rete Italiana per il Disarmo (Italy)

Participants in the European Network Against Arms Trade

Human Rights Institute (Slovakia)

NESEHNUTÍ Brno (Czech republic)

Norwegian Peace Association (Norway)

EU: Export Licences of Military Systems to Israel — Years 2008–2012

(Values in € at current prices — Source: EU Annual Reports)

Country/Year

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total

%

Italy

1.885.712

226.304

1.315.521

172.586

472.910.249

476.510.372

41,1

Germany

25.083.601

32.632.918

31.620.418

62.905.618

49.108.100

201.350.655

17,4

France

75.033.595

45.980.190

32.830.696

25.904.723

21.197.885

200.947.089

17,3

Romania

15.455.195

16.833.879

15.215.527

18.389.460

28.323.848

94.217.909

8,1

United Kingdom

31.555.334

6.633.633

7.291.376

5.710.932

25.082.700

76.273.975

6,6

Spain

157.200

2.805.955

5.766.600

11.955.201

4.318.591

25.003.547

2,2

Poland

7.008.296

4.008.423

2.617.826

9.373.232

205.612

23.213.389

2,0

Bulgaria

2.435.187

1.297.297

4.886.538

7.490.110

3.012.361

19.121.493

1,6

Czech Republic

285.430

292.494

3.587.573

2.251.057

3.043.692

9.460.246

0,8

Belgium

1.406.573

1.730.856

2.277.176

938.034

1.739.055

8.091.694

0,7

Greece

35.160

3.361.095

1.573.972

1.865.714

6.835.941

0,6

Ireland

24.750

6.137.875

3.952

6.166.577

0,5

Hungary

28.035

126.035

642.000

1.217.768

595.768

2.609.606

0,2

Slovenia

52.159

526.573

615.908

741.033

579.357

2.515.030

0,2

Slovakia

607.355

100.000

1.696.551

103.150

2.507.056

0,2

Netherlands

314.011

80.000

717.029

75.000

900.000

2.086.040

0,2

Austria

176.925

553.551

483.600

500.600

1.714.676

0,1

Denmark

657.000

228.180

885.180

0,1

Finland

84.776

17.145

7.930

1.980

111.831

0,0

Portugal

80.000

80.000

0,0

TOTAL

162.261.544

113.745.253

113.589.743

157.115.732

612.990.034

1.159.702.306

100,0

Author: Giorgio Beretta (berettagiorgio@gmail.com) for Italian Disarmament Network

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