This database is exposing decades of Israel’s shady arms deals

An Israeli soldier learns how to operate the Skylark drone in the Negev desert, January 21, 2013. (photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
Israel has been exporting arms to the world’s most repressive governments. A new project aims to hold it accountable by tracking these confidential sales.

By Sahar Vardi |  +972 Magazine |  Feb 10, 2021

…headlines about Israel selling a new missile or spyware system often mention an “Asian-Pacific country” or “a country in Europe,” in order to maintain the client’s confidentiality.

Over the last decades, Israel has reportedly sold weapons to approximately 130 countries. And yet, when one digs a little, it is impossible to find a full list of those countries. Apart from its reports to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Israel releases no official information about its arms exports.

There are good reasons Israel wants to hide these sales, since its clientele has involved some of the world’s most tyrannical dictatorships and human rights abusers. This list includes apartheid South Africa, the military Junta in Argentina, the Serbian army during the Bosnian genocide, and Rwanda in the years leading up to the genocide in the country.

More recently, Israel has sold arms to South Sudan and the military junta in Myanmar. Countries like Morocco, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and others have begun using Israeli spyware against journalists and political opposition. Some of these governments have committed what amounts to war crimes, and abetting such crimes is deemed illegal under international law.

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