Canada exported a record $30.6 million worth of military goods to Israel in 2023

Canadian companies exported a record $30.6 million worth of military goods to Israel last year, according to an annual report. published by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) last week.

The annual report tracks the export of military goods abroad, with the exception of the United States. Below are some of the key conclusions from the report on exports to Israel.

Canadian exports of military goods to Israel in 2023 were the highest ever recorded. surpass the previous record of $28.7 million in 1987 (adjusted for inflation) by 6.6 percent.

In the past decade alone, annual Canadian exports of military goods to Israel have increased increased more than sixfold from $4.8 million in 2013.

The government included a footnote in the 2023 report that noted the oft-repeated claim that only permits for “non-lethal” goods were allowed after October 7, 2023, when Israel launched its brutal assault on Gaza.

If noted in The Maple’s previous reporting, “non-lethal” has no legal meaning and could refer to parts of lethal military hardware.

The report stated that “no permits have been issued since January 8, 2024,” but said nothing about issuing a formal notice to pause the authorization of new permits as the government promised it would suffice after the passage from a non-binding vote in Parliament earlier this year.

The apparent pause on approving new permits does not apply to permits granted before January 8, meaning military goods will likely still flow from Canada to Israel under existing permits.

In February, The Maple reported that the Trudeau government had approved new permits for military exports worth $28.5 million during the first two months of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

As The Maple noted at the time, not all goods covered by these export licenses may actually have been shipped to Israel by 2023, and some of the authorized licenses are likely still active.

Israel was the non-US destination with the highest number of military export licenses used by Canadian suppliers in 2023. However, this does not mean that Israel purchased the highest amount of Canadian military goods last year.

GAC only discloses very broad outlines about the nature of military goods sold abroad. Below you will find an overview of the export categories of goods exported to Israel last year.

None of the military export licenses that the GAC denied last year were for the export of goods to Israel. Below you will find a table with the refused permits and the reasons for them.

As the report notes, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs “must deny export and brokering authorization applications for military goods and technology if there is a substantial risk that the goods would undermine peace and security, or could be used to commit serious violations of international law.” commit or facilitate humanitarian obligations. and human rights laws, acts that constitute a criminal offense under international conventions relating to terrorism or organized crime, serious acts of gender-based violence or serious acts of violence against women and children.”

Israel has been widespread accused of waging a genocidal campaign in Gaza, and it is currently is on trial for violating the 1948 Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice.

Earlier this year, United Nations experts said warned that all states should halt arms exports to Israel, “including export licenses and military assistance,” as such transfers are “likely to constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.”

The UN statement specifically mentions Canada as one of many countries that continue to export military supplies to Israel.

According to the 2023 Canadian Military Export Report, Israel remains on the Automatic Firearms Country Control List, which “allows Canadian residents to apply for permits to export prohibited firearms, weapons and devices to that destination.”

In total, Canada exported $2.14 billion worth of military goods to non-US destinations last year, up slightly from $2.12 billion in 2022. By far the largest non-US buyer of Canadian military goods in 2023 was Saudi Arabia. ruled by a highly oppressive monarchy with a poor human rights record.

Saudi Arabia purchased $904.6 million worth of Canadian military supplies, the majority of which was for “ground vehicles and components.”

The GAC’s annual report omits revelations about the export of military goods to the United States, some of which could ultimately end up in the hands of the Israeli military, arms monitoring groups said.

In its assessment of the 2023 report, the weapons monitoring group Project Plowshares (PP) said it conservatively estimates the total value of annual military exports to the US at more than $1 billion.

In December, PP published a report warning that some Canadian-made parts, including those found in F-35 fighter jets, are shipped first to the US and eventually supplied to the Israeli military. Israel has used F-35s in its bombing of Gaza.

Alex Cosh is The Maple’s news editor.

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