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March 14, 2019

Israel named world’s 8th largest arms exporter


March 14, 2019

STOCKHOLM: Israel is the world’s eighth-largest weapons exporter, with India, Azerbaijan and Vietnam its three largest clients in 2014-2018, according to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released Monday.

Israel was responsible for 3.1 percent of global arms exports in the period surveyed, a 60% increase in volume over previous years.

The report also found a large increase in American arms exports to Israel, with 64% of Israel’s weaponry procurements coming from the US. Twenty-seven percent of Israel’s arms imports came from Germany, and 8.9% from Italy.

According to the report, arms imports by countries in the Middle East increased by 87% from the period 2009-2013 to the period 2014-2018, and accounted for 35% of global arms imports in the past five years.

For that same period, Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest arms importer with an increase of 192% compared with 2009-2013. Arms imports by Israel rose by 354%, by Qatar (225%) and by Iraq (139%) from the period 2009-2013 to the period 2014-2018. Syria’s arms imports fell by 87% during that time

Congress has recently pushed for the US to end the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi by officials from the kingdom. Last month, a committee in the UK’s House of Lords said that the country should also suspend some sales to the kingdom over its “unconscionable” war in Yemen.

The report editor, Pieter Wezeman, told the Globes newspaper that Israel exports arms to all regions of the world, with the exception of the Middle East. India’s ties with Israel have warmed in recent years, particularly in the area of military cooperation and weapons development, with the countries exchanging billions of dollars in defense contracts. In February it was reported Israeli-made smart bombs were used by India in an airstrike on Pakistan across the volatile Kashmir border, in an attack that raised tensions between the two nuclear arch-rivals.

Israel has been accused of selling weapons and military services to human rights violators around the world for decades, including to apartheid South Africa, Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and in recent years to South Sudan, despite a near-universal arms embargo over the bloody civil war there.

Most recently, Israel has been accused of supplying Myanmar with “advanced weapons” during the country’s ethnic cleansing campaign against its Rohingya Muslims. The Foreign Ministry admitted last year to selling Myanmar weapons in the past, but said that it had frozen all contracts earlier in 2017.

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