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Complicit in genocide: where Israel gets its weapons from

Far from ‘standing alone’ Israel is fully supplied with military hardware from various Western and non-Western countries, writes RAMZY BAROUD

OVER 9,000 Palestinian women have been killed since the start of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. Mothers have been the largest share of Israeli killings, at an average of 37 mothers per day since October 7. 

The numbers above, from the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza and the Red Crescent Society respectively, only convey part of the suffering experienced by 2.3 million Palestinians in the strip. 

There is not a single section in Palestinian society that has not paid a heavy price for the war, although women and children are the ones who have suffered most, constituting over 70 per cent of all victims of the ongoing Israeli genocide. 

True, these women and their children are killed at the hands of Israeli soldiers, but they are murdered with US-Western supplied weapons. 

Now, however, we are told that the world is finally turning against Israel, and that the West’s nod of approval to Tel Aviv to carry on with its daily massacres may soon turn into a collective snub. 

This claim was expressed best in the March 23 cover of the Economist magazine. It showed a tattered Israeli flag, attached to a stick, and planted in an arid, dusty land. It was accompanied by the headline “Israel Alone.” 

The image, undoubtedly expressive, was meant to serve as a sign of the times. Its profundity becomes even more obvious if compared to another cover, from the same publication soon after the Israeli military conquered massive Arab territories in the war of June 1967.

“They did it,” the headline, back then, read. In the background, an Israeli military tank was pictured, illustrating the West-funded Israeli triumph. 

Between the two headlines, much — in the world and in the Middle East — has changed. But to claim that Israel now stands alone is not entirely accurate, at least not yet. 

Though many of Israel’s traditional allies in the West are openly disowning its behaviour in Gaza, weapons from various Western and non-Western countries continue to flow, feeding the war machine as it, in turn, continues to harvest more Palestinian lives. 

This compels the question: does Israel truly stand alone when its airports and seaports are busier than ever receiving massive shipments of weapons coming from all directions? Not in the least.

Almost every time a Western country announces that it has suspended arms exports to Israel, a news headline appears shortly afterwards, indicating the opposite. Indeed, this has happened repeatedly. 

Last year, Rome had declared that it was blocking all arms sales to Israel, giving false hope that some Western countries were finally experiencing some kind of moral awakening. 

Alas, on March 14, Reuters quoted the Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto as saying that shipments of weapons to Israel are continuing, based on the flimsy logic that previously signed deals would have to be “honoured.” 

Another country that is also “honouring” its previous commitments is Canada, which announced on May 19, following a parliamentary motion, that it had suspended arms exports. 

The celebration among those advocating an end to the genocide in Gaza were just getting started when, a day later, Ottawa practically reversed the decision by announcing that it, too, will honour previous commitments. 

This illustrates that some Western countries, which continue to impart their unsolicited wisdom about human rights, women’s rights and democracy on the rest of the world, have no genuine respect for any of these values. 

Canada and Italy are not the largest military supporters of Israel. The US and Germany are. 

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in the decade between 2013 and 2022, Israel has received 68 per cent of its weapons from the US and 28 per cent from Germany.

The Germans remain unperturbed, even though 5 per cent of the total population of Gaza has been killed, wounded or are missing due to the Israeli war. 

Yet the US support for Israel is far greater, although the Biden administration is still sending messages to its constituency — a majority of whom want the war to stop — that the president is doing his best to put pressure on Israel to end the war. 

Though only two approved military sales to Israel have been announced publicly since October 7, the two shipments represent only 2 per cent from the total US arms sent to Israel. 

The news was revealed by the Washington Post on March 6. It was published at a time when US media was reporting on a widening rift between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

“That’s an extraordinary number of sales over the course of a pretty short amount of time,” a former senior Biden administration official told the Post. Jeremy Konyndyk reached the obvious conclusion that the “Israeli campaign would not be sustainable without this level of US support.”

For decades, the US military support to Israel has been the highest anywhere in the world. Starting in 2016, this unconditional support exponentially increased during the Obama administration to reach $3.8 billion per year. 

Immediately after October 7, however, the weapons shipments to Israel reached unprecedented levels. They included a 2,000-pound bomb known as 5,000 MK-84 munitions. Israel has used this bomb to kill hundreds of innocent Palestinians. 

Though Washington frequently alleges to be looking into Israel’s use of its weapons, it turned out, according to the Washington Post, that Biden knew too well that “Israel was regularly bombing buildings without solid intelligence that they were legitimate military targets.”

In some ways, Israel “stands alone,” but only because its behaviour is rejected by most countries and peoples around the world. However, it is hardly alone when its war crimes are being executed with Western support and arms.  

For the Israeli genocide in Gaza to end, those who continue to sustain the ongoing bloodbath must also be held accountable.   

Dr Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle (www.palestinechronicle.com). He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappe, is Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out.

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