Spain Blocks Sales of Handcuffs, Equipment to Israel Over Human Rights Concerns, Report Says

Spanish newspaper El Pais says Madrid has vetoed sale of data security equipment, handcuffs and electrical equipment for fear they may be used in military context

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Police in Israel handcuff a protester, 2019.
Police in Israel handcuff a protester, 2019.Credit: Nir Keidar

The Spanish government has vetoed three sales of equipment to Israel over concerns that they might be used for human rights abuses or military purposes, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday.

According to El Pais, based on a government report on imports in 2019, the largest contract that was canceled was a 10 million Euro ($11.3 million) sale of data security equipment to a private company out of fears over its potential use.

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Spanish authorities also decided to scrap the sale of 2,000 handcuffs worth some 17,000 Euro ($19,294) to the Israel Police for fears that they would be used in violation of human rights, the newspaper said.

They also reportedly vetoed the sale of 550 units of electronic equipment used in driverless vehicles, worth about 95,000 Euro ($107,824), out of concern that they would be used for military purposes. This equipment was also supposed to be sold to a private company.

The newspaper further reported that Spain vets all deals with Israel. According to El Pais, last year Spain exported to Israel equipment strictly for military use to the tune of some 2.1 billion Euro ($2.38 billion), in sales that included night vision equipment, weapons and ammunition.

Some of this equipment was intended for testing or integration into systems whose ultimate destinations are the Spanish military or a third party, such as Thailand, the report said. It added that last year Spain exported to Israel dual-use equipment – for either civilian or military use – worth 3.2 million Euro ($3.6 million), including image processing cards for fighter planes and information systems for the defense sector.

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