Analysis. Italy has sent over €1.5 billion in ‘arms and ammunition’ to Israel since October 7. The Meloni government's policy toward Israel has brought us past yet another milestone, making us military accomplices to genocide.

Italy continues to send weapons to Tel Aviv

Last week, an investigation by Altraeconomia, begun in October, showed through ISTAT data that Italian arms continue to be sold to Israel. This is happening despite Minister Crosetto’s tweets that Italy would stop military sales to Tel Aviv after October 7, as he also said in Parliament.

As reported by Duccio Facchini, author of the investigation, the reality is quite different: between October and November 2023, Italy exported “arms and ammunition” to Israel worth €817,536, then €233,025 in October and €584,511 in November, according to the updated ISTAT statistics.

Protests by dockworkers and their unions had already raised doubt months ago, when several shipments bound to leave from Italian coasts were challenged by blockades and demonstrations in Salerno, Ravenna and Genoa, at the initiative of pro-Palestinian groups and SI COBAS.

For months, the Italian Peace and Disarmament Network has highlighted that the government-initiated Bill 855, under discussion in the Senate, is a serious threat to control mechanisms on the export of “armament materials”: its proposed amendments to Law 185/90 would weaken transparency mechanisms and decision-making and control processes pertaining to the arms industry.

“How can anybody think that for a product such as weapons, we shouldn’t take into consideration the devastating impacts they cause? Even in the current situation, we know very well that the authorizations issued have not always been in line with the criteria set out by Law 185/90 and international treaties. if Bill 855 were to pass, the situation would worsen, particularly on the issue of the close links between finance and arms production,” says Giorgio Beretta, analyst at the Opal Observatory and RIPD.

It is interesting to note that the sending of military supplies to Israel has been slowed down not by the government, but by UAMA, the body responsible for issuing new licenses for arms exports. As far as one could tell from the parliamentary debate, it appears that since October 7, UAMA is no longer issuing new licenses for those wishing to sell weapons to Israel, but the decision doesn’t apply retroactively. It cannot stop all the sending military equipment or suspend contracts already signed.

Beretta continues: “Ministers Crosetto and Tajani’s statements about suspending the supplies of military materials to Israel seem to be more of a reaction to a political back-and-forth with the opposition than a choice made by the Meloni government. It is no coincidence that both ministers pointed out that it was implemented by UAMA. Suspending the licenses issued in past years, and thus stopping the sending of all military equipment to Israel, would require a ministerial decree, and there is no sign of one to date. But there’s more: the Meloni government’s bill (Senate Bill 855), which has already been approved in the Senate, intends to subject any bans that the UAMA national authority decides on the basis of the national regulations on the arms trade to the government’s veto.”

Although Italy is constitutionally precluded from offering military support to a belligerent country, the state of exception that marks the Meloni government’s policy toward Israel has brought us past yet another milestone, making us military accomplices to genocide. Not to mention the negotiations already underway with Tel Aviv regarding ENI’s involvement in the management of Palestinian mineral resources in Gaza, a territory occupied and besieged in violation of international law. What is looming in the background is a clear redefinition of the relationship to the arms trade, with consequences that are hard to even imagine.

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