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Israel concerned nations could join Canadian arms embargo amid growing Gaza War criticism

German ambassador: Arms export will be thoroughly examined

Members of the local Palestinian diaspora and their supporters gather at the Alberta Legislature for the Edmonton Emergency Protest and Sit-In, Oct. 18, 2023, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto)

Amid growing international criticism of Israel’s conduct in the Gaza War, Canada’s decision to impose an arms embargo increases concerns in the Israeli government that other, more important nations may follow suit, Ynet News reported on Wednesday.

Canadian Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Robert Oliphant confirmed on Tuesday that the government would follow an earlier, non-binding motion passed in the parliament.

“We will continue to advocate for a ceasefire, we will continue to not sell arms as we have promised and continue to make sure that we bring hostages back to their homes,” Oliphant told the parliament.

Despite the Canadian statement being largely symbolic, as the country does not supply weapons to Israel at the moment, government officials in Israel fear it could result in a domino effect and encourage other governments to issue similar declarations.

The concerns come amid a growing rift between Israel and the Biden administration – a close ally of Canada’s Trudeau government – over Israel’s planned offensive into the town of Rafah in southern Gaza.

An Israeli official alleged last week that the U.S. had already slowed the pace of its arms shipments to Israel since the start of the war, according to a report on ABC news that was later denied by American officials.

In February, a Dutch court ordered the government to stop the delivery of parts for F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, following an appeal by human rights organizations. The decision is currently being fought by the government.

When asked about Canada’s decision, German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert said he didn’t want to comment on the decisions made by other nations.

“Arms exports, quite in general in Germany, are always decided according to the situation and will always be examined very properly, very carefully, very thoroughly before they are green-lighted, and that’s how we’re gonna continue this,” Seibert said during a Wednesday interview with Israel's Channel 12 news.

When asked whether he could envision a scenario where exports would not be approved, Seibert chose not to respond directly. Instead, he reiterated Germany's overall backing of Israel, while also expressing significant "concerns" and "great worry" regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joined international voices warning Israel against an incursion into Rafah during his recent visit, and said it should be questioned if the goal of eradicating Hamas justified “such horrifically high costs,” or if there was another way.

Back in February, the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell publicly called allies of Israel, and especially the United States, to end weapons sales to Israel as “too many people” were being killed in Gaza.

Borell referred to U.S. President Joe Biden’s earlier comment that Israel’s military action was “over the top,” one of the first of Biden’s increasingly sharp reprimands of Israel’s conduct in the war in recent months.

“Well, if you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms, in order to prevent so many people being killed,” Borrell said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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