Canada halting arms shipments to Israel: govt official

AFP , Wednesday 20 Mar 2024

Canada will halt all arms shipments to Israel, a government official told AFP on Tuesday, as Israel faces growing international scrutiny over its war in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza
A small group of Palestinian protestors stood outside Parliament Hill as the former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was lying-in-state at the at Sir John A. Macdonald Building across the street in Ottawa, Canada, March 19, 2024. AFP

 

The besieged Palestinian territory is facing a mounting humanitarian crisis, and months of war have pushed hundreds of thousands of Gazans to the brink of famine.

Canada, a key ally of the United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars a year in military aid, had already reduced its weapons shipments to Israel to non-lethal equipment such as radios following October 7 Hamas operation.

"The situation on the ground makes it so that we can't" export any kind of military equipment, the Canadian official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Canada's foreign minister Melanie Joly told the Toronto Star newspaper on Tuesday that Ottawa would stop future arms exports to Israel.

US Senator Bernie Sanders welcomed the move, saying in a post on X: "Given the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, including widespread and growing starvation, the U.S. should not provide another nickel for Netanyahu's war machine."

Israel has historically been a top receiver of Canadian arms exports, with CAN$21 million worth of military materiel exported to Israel in 2022, according to Radio Canada, following CAN$26 million in shipments in 2021.

That places Israel among the top 10 recipients of Canadian arms exports.

Ottawa has only exported "non-lethal" shipments such as communications equipment to Israel since October 7 .

No exports had been sent since January, the government official added.

While affirming Israel's right to defend itself, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken an increasingly critical stance toward Israel as civilian deaths have mounted in Gaza.

On Monday, the Canadian Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the international community to work toward a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

The issue of arms deliveries to Israel has triggered legal proceedings in several countries around the world.

In Canada, a coalition of lawyers and citizens of Palestinian origin filed a complaint against the government in early March to suspend arms exports to Israel, accusing it of violating both international and domestic law.

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