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Report. Since the International Court of Justice has imposed precautionary measures to prevent acts of genocide and guarantee essential goods in Gaza, Italy, by exporting arms to Israel, appears to have violated its international obligations.

Report: Italy sent €2 million worth of bombs to Israel in two months

The Altreconomia investigation continues, which in recent months has been using hard data to refute the Meloni government’s claims about the stop on Italian military exports to Israel. The latest unpublished data from the Customs and Monopolies Agency reveal a disturbing fact: between December 2023 and January 2024, Italy exported weapons and munitions to Israel for a total value of more than €2 million.

In blatant contradiction with these figures, the Meloni government said that there had been a total stop to arms exports to Tel Aviv, claiming that the ISTAT statistics also included elements of a “civilian” nature, such as revolvers and bayonets. Nevertheless, the export of such “civilian” weapons to critical conflict areas such as the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the West Bank, where Israeli settlers are being armed by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir himself while the mostly unarmed Palestinian civilian population is being constantly brutalized, is highly problematic in itself.

However, the figures from Customs, ISTAT’s primary source, clear up any misunderstanding: these exports concern only material for military use. The category “Bombs, grenades, missiles and other ammunition” registered an impressive increase, rising from €730,869 in December 2023 to €1,352,675 in January 2024, in the thick of the Israeli military’s attacks on Gaza’s civilian population.

Giorgio Beretta, an analyst with the Permanent Observatory on Small Arms (OPAL), confirmed that the figures, beside ammunition of common calibers, represent military equipment only. This situation is putting Italy at risk of sanctions according to the provisions of international criminal law.

Given the international arrest warrant recently requested by the ICC prosecutor for Netanyahu, one is understandably disturbed by the photos of President Meloni happy to shake hands with her Israeli counterpart and initiating negotiations for the potential involvement of Italian companies in the management of Gaza’s mineral resources: on October 29, 2023, the multinational ENI signed an agreement with the Tel Aviv Ministry of Energy to start exploring gas deposits in the waters off the Gaza Strip.

Since the International Court of Justice has imposed precautionary measures to prevent acts of genocide and guarantee essential goods in Gaza, Italy, by exporting arms to Israel, appears to have violated its international obligations and is likely to be called to account.

Beretta once again stressed the provisions of the 2013 UN Arms Trade Treaty, which imposes strict controls to prevent weapons from contributing to gender-based violence or violence against civilians. Italy was supposed to review export licenses in light of new information, which it failed to do, explicitly ignoring the treaty’s requirements.

The Defense Minister, Guido Crosetto, initially said that arms exports to Israel had been suspended after October 7, 2023, but later admitted that many export licenses issued previously continued to be used. The case-by-case assessment by UAMA, the military body that issues licenses, does not absolve Italy of its responsibilities. In conclusion, the situation points to gross negligence on the part of the Italian government in stopping arms exports to an ongoing war that has seen more than 36,000 deaths up to now.

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