Germany pushes ahead with Saudi Arabia Eurofighter deal because 'it protects Israel'

Germany pushes ahead with Saudi Arabia Eurofighter deal because 'it protects Israel'
Germany has openly stated that its previous concerns over Saudi's human rights violations in Yemen no longer apply as the Kingdom apparently protects Israel.
2 min read
09 January, 2024
Germany's support for Israel has seen it abandon its previous opposition to Saudi's human rights violations in Yemen [Getty]

Germany's decision to permit the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia is primarily influenced by the kingdom's “very constructive attitude toward Israel”, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said on Monday.

Hebestreit referred to information that the Saudi Arabian Air Force had shot down rockets fired at Israel by the Houthi rebels in Yemen using Eurofighters.

The lift on a German ban on the sale of the Eurofighter to the Gulf kingdom was first announced by German Foreign Minister and Green Party member Annalena Baerbock during her visit to Israel on Sunday.

Speaking from Tel Aviv, she said that Saudi Arabia’s current behaviour demonstrates “an effort for a better future in the region … Saudi Arabia is thus making a significant contribution to Israel's security these days, and it is helping to contain the danger of a regional conflagration”.

Germany is “grateful” for this, Baerbock added, going on to say that this is why Berlin no longer opposes the UK-led considerations for selling Eurofighters to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia had already bought 72 Eurofighter jets, which are a collaborative project between Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, from the UK in 2007, with Riyadh believed to want up to 48 more.

However, due to human rights concerns over the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen, in which Eurofighters were allegedly used, Germany blocked such a sale.

Germany’s policy shift reflects the strength of Berlin’s support for Israel since it launched an indiscriminate war against Gaza which has left most of the Palestinian enclave in ruins and killed over 23,200 people.

It is widely believed that the German government is abandoning its human rights concerns over Saudi conduct in Yemen to pursue its intense pro-Israel agenda.

Robert Beck, the German Vice-Chancellor and member of the Green Party, admitted that the Saudi human rights record "does not meet our standards at all". 

"[But] the Saudi Arabian defenc missiles also protect Israel," Beck added. 

On the other hand, the Green Party’s own security policy spokeswoman Sara Nanni criticised the German government's move as “surprising”. The current German government is a coalition between the Social Democrats and Green Party.

“The federal government committed itself in the summer not to deliver any Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia,” she told the German magazine Der Spiegel

“I expect them to stick with it. It wasn't even five years ago that the Saudi-led alliance bombed Yemen on a large scale … Future Saudi wars will look similar,” she warned.