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EU turning blind eye to members' arms trade with Tel Aviv: Expert

July 6, 2024 at 1:22 pm

Mobility of tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks and military jeeps belonging to the Israeli army continues on the border line near the city of Rafah, Gaza on May 29, 2024. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

The EU lacks a provision prohibiting arms trade with Israel that is being tried at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for genocide in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

It allows member states to continue exports to and imports from Israel.

In the second part of the series, “Western Support for Israeli Arms,” Anadolu interviewed Irish journalist and author David Cronin, an expert on the topic, in Brussels.

Referring to the ICJ’s interim measures, Cronin said, “Of course, this should have been done earlier but that sent out a very clear signal that states around the world have an obligation not to assist Israel with its acts of genocide against the Palestinians.”

Cronin noted that the ICJ decision could lead to additional cases challenging arms cooperation between Europe and Israel, causing concern in some countries.

“I think it’s important to emphasize that weapon cooperation — it may have been reduced but it’s still continuing between Europe and Israel,” said Cronin. “There has been no decision taken by the European Union to impose a ban on weapons trading with Israel, unfortunately.”

When Israel attacked Gaza in 2014, that same year the EU imposed an arms embargo on Russia for annexing Crimea but did not apply the same to Israel, he said. “So, there’s obviously very clear double standards.”

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“Perhaps that term isn’t even adequate to describe what has been going on. The weapons cooperation with Israel makes the European Union complicit in the current genocide in Gaza,” he stressed.

Germany, UK

Cronin pointed out that EU countries are not only transferring arms to Israel but also importing.

“German officials paid a visit to the headquarters of Israel Aerospace Industries in May, where there was a discussion about Germany possibly buying the Arrow 3,” he said, referring to the hypersonic anti-ballistic missile that is jointly funded, developed and produced by Israel and the US.

Cronin stressed that the state-owned Israeli weapons company “has made many of the weapons that are currently being used, drones and other weapons that are currently being used to kill people in Gaza.”

Emphasizing that arms trade operates bilaterally, Cronin said Berlin has transferred numerous weapons to Israel in the last decade, but Germany is also an important customer of the Israeli arms industry. “So we really need to be talking about a two-way arms embargo.”

Also, Cronin noted that the UK continues its arms trade with Israel. “Elbit Systems, the largest privately-owned Israeli weapons company, has something like 10 different factories and offices in Britain. Engines for Israeli drones are being manufactured near Birmingham in England.”


Cronin said France has given indications of halting arms sales to Israel due to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. That, however, “needs to be investigated further, of course.”

Noting that Israeli companies were banned from participating in the Eurosatory arms fair in Paris last month, but that decision was overturned following a complaint by the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Cronin said major Israeli companies were not able to participate in the way they planned in the exhibition.

He said despite being fully Israeli-owned, Elbit’s “OIP Sensor Systems” arms company in Belgium registered as a Belgian company to participate in Eurosatory.

The Irish expert noted that Dutch, Spanish and Polish arms companies also participated in Eurosatory, showcasing weapons systems composed of Israeli-made components.

“The cooperation has been going on for a long time and it’s become quite sophisticated, so we really need to have a total ban on all trading between Israel and the European Union.”

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