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Canada to halt weapons exports to Israel

Canada's parliament passed a resolution blocking the sales and Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has confirmed that the measure will be followed.
COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Canada will stop exporting weapons to Israel, the country’s top diplomat said on Tuesday, marking a major policy shift.

Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told the Toronto Star that Canada will abide by the resolution passed by the House of Commons on Monday night, despite it being nonbinding, and stop future arms sales to Israel.

“It is a real thing,” said Joly.

The resolution calls for Canada to work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state and cease weapons transfers to Israel, among other things. The initiative, which was led by the leftist New Democratic Party, originally called for suspending all military sales to Israel. After amendments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, the text was changed to call on Canada to halt arms transfers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Why it matters: Canada is a significant military exporter to Israel, totaling $15.7 million 2022. Israel was among the top five destinations of Canadian military export permits that year, according to Canadian government statistics.

The Trudeau government has condemned both Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the Israeli military’s conduct in Gaza. In February, Trudeau said in a statement that an “immediate humanitarian cease-fire is urgently needed” and that “the hostages must be released.”

Earlier this month, Canada said it would restore funding to the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees. Canada suspended future funding in January over Israeli allegations that some staff members have ties to Hamas.

Canada had refrained from making any significant policy shifts, however, making Joly’s confirmation noteworthy.

Canada’s decision to stop arms exports could further harm relations with Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to the passage of the motion in a post on X on Tuesday. "It's regrettable that the Canadian government is taking a step that undermines Israel's right to self-defense against Hamas terrorists,” Katz wrote, mentioning Joly by name.

Know more: Israeli defense firms have had to delay some orders to overseas customers due to domestic needs related to the war against Hamas. Israeli military exports to India, however, are reportedly continuing unaffected.