Arms exports to Israel from EU worth €200m
European Union member states authorised the export of €200 million in arms exports to Israel in 2007, the latest figures from Brussels disclose, with France far and away the Jewish state's biggest European weapons supplier.
According to the EU's 2008 report on arms export licences, published in December for the 2007 calendar year and consolidating the accounts that member states must annually submit, 18 member states authorised a total of 1,018 such licences to Israel worth €199,409,348.
France, Germany and Romania were the top three exporters. France issued export licences worth €126 million, Germany authorised €28 million and Romania €17 million, the EUobserver can reveal.
In response to calls from opposition politicians that the UK government halt its arms exports to Israel and push all other EU member states to do the same, a British foreign office spokesperson said: "We do not approve any defence related exports if we judge that there is a risk that they will be used for external aggression or internal repression.
"We routinely refuse export licences where we believe that there is a risk of this. Any application relating to Israel is considered on this basis," the spokesperson continued.
EU arms code of conduct
The EU has maintained an arms export code of conduct since 1998, but it is overseen at the member state level, not in Brussels, so if Mr Brown were to push for such a move, he would have to convince the 26 other member states.
In 2007, €12 million in small arms and ammunition were exported to Israel by Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Romania and the UK.
Another €23.5 million in "light weapons," meaning those that require two to three people to operate them, such as bombs, torpedoes and explosive devices, were supplied by the Czech Republic, Germany, Romania and Slovenia.
Belgium, France and Romania also sent Israel €18.5 million worth of aircraft and related material. Paris is responsible for €10 million of this sum.
In a fourth, very broad category of armaments in the EU's consolidated report, "electronic equipment" - referring to electronics specifically modified for military use, navigation and guidance equipment, and satellite jamming systems, some €94 million was exported by France (€89 million) and Germany (€5 million).
The rest of the €200 million consists of weapons that fall into other minor categories beyond small arms, light weapons, aircraft and electronics.
Italy, traditionally a major arms exporter, only supplied Israel with €0.5 million in weapons in 2007. Spain, also a leading trader in the sector also sold Tel Aviv just €4.5 million worth of armaments.
Sweden, another major European weapons producer, along with eight other EU member states, delivered nothing to the Jewish state.
Across the EU, only 28 export licences were refused as a result of human rights, internal security or regional stability reasons.
Kaye Stearman, of the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade, told this website: "The UN and impartial observers have regularly documented how Israeli military actions have violated international humanitarian law.
"Although the UK's own Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria is supposed to assess the impact of arms sales on regional peace, security and stability, and the country's human rights record, it seems that this is ignored in the case of Israel."
"Britain must immediately stop selling arms, including arms components, to Israel and also stop buying arms from Israeli companies - arms that have been 'tested' in the laboratories of the occupied territories."
Photo: Nato-buildings Brussels
Global Research, June 2, 2012
The presence of Syrian National Transitional Council head Bassma Kodmani at the 2012 Bilderberg conference clearly indicates that power brokers at the elite confab will be discussing the effort to topple President Bashar Al-Assad and install a NATO-friendly administration in the violence-stricken country.
Kodmani is the Head of Foreign Affairs with the SNC, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups based in Istanbul, Turkey. While at the Bilderberg meeting she will be in the company of the likes of former Secretary of State and accused war criminal Henry Kissinger, warhawk Richard Perle, and Thomas E. Donilon, National Security Advisor for the Obama White House.
Having overseen numerous wars during his tenure in the White House, Kissinger is a staunch advocate of so-called “humanitarian” interventions. Before last year’s toppling of Colonel Gaddafi, he advocated a U.S. ground invasion of Libya.
During last year’s Bilderberg conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, members discussed expanding the war in Libya. Four months later, Gaddafi was killed and the country was under the control of NATO-backed rebels and the National Transitional Council of Libya.
Kodmani is a darling of the establishment, having written op-eds for the New York Times calling for the overthrow of Assad. In recent months her position has become increasingly hardline and pro-NATO intervention. In January she called for “greater militarization of local resistance or foreign intervention.” Kodmani has also called for Syria to form an alliance with Israel.
Hostility towards Syria from the international community has intensified in recent weeks, particularly after last weekend’s massacre in Houla which was blamed on Assad’s forces despite the fact that eyewitnesses in Houla said opposition rebels were responsible for the slaughter, which killed 108 people – mostly women and children.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Houla massacre will be used to build an international consensus for military intervention. “Every day that goes by makes the argument for it stronger,” she said while addressing Danish university students.
This followed U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice adopting a more hardline approach following a UN Security Council meeting. “Members of this Council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they are prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this Council,” said Rice.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has repeatedly stated that Congressional authorization for a military assault on Syria will not be sought by the Obama administration, which considers NATO and the UN to be the supreme authority.
In June last year, President Obama arrogantly expressed his hostility to the rule of law when he dismissed the need to get congressional authorization to commit the United States to a military intervention in Libya, churlishly dismissing criticism and remarking, “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question.”
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.
The next meeting of the Bilderberg group is to be held in England. The location is thought to be the Grove Hotel Watford from the 6th to the 9th of June.
These annual meetings are summits of the most wealthy, powerful and influential people in the world of politics, finance and business. The biggest mystery surrounding them is why the mainstream newspapers and broadcasters have chosen not to report on them since 1954.
Oxfam reaction to EU failure to extend arms embargo on Syria beyond August
28th May 2013
EU Foreign Ministers failed last night to extend the EU arms embargo on Syria as it stands. They
decided, however, not to lift it before August 1st and set a number of conditions.
In reaction, Oxfam’s Head of Arms Control, Anna Macdonald, said:
“Oxfam is disappointed that the EU will not extend its arms embargo on Syria as it stands. Ministers sent out mixed signals. What was needed was an unequivocal stance that the EU will do everything it can to stop the bloodshed and prevent a deadly arms race in Syria, which would have devastating humanitarian consequences.”
“We welcome the EU’s willingness to prioritise the pursuit of a political solution and its strong commitment for human rights and international humanitarian law. However, European governments should be using their influence to secure a halt to international arms transfers from all governments to any warring party in Syria.”
“This decision does not give the green light to any member states who want to supply arms to groups in Syria. As clearly laid out in the EU Common Position on Arms Transfers, any transfers must be subject to full risk assessment procedures against the risks of arms being used for violations of human rights and humanitarian law.”
Oxfam has been advocating to bring the arms trade under control for more than a decade and played a crucial role in the campaign to secure a robust Arms Trade Treaty. Under the new treaty – which was passed by majority vote at the UN in April this year and opens for signature next week on June 3 – arms transfers must not be authorised where there is a major risk the weapons will be used to commit violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. Both European countries and all other 156 states that voted in favour of this landmark treaty need to live up to its principles.