Stop arming Israel
Israel's latest military attack on Gaza, launched on 14 November 2012, is only made possible through the continued financial, military and diplomatic support it receives from Western states. In light of Israel's violations of international law and Palestinian human rights, the British government must end its complicity with Israel’s aggression and implement an immediate two-way arms embargo on Israel until it complies with international law.
Photo credit: Ariel Schalit, AP
UK arm sales to Israel
During Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2008/09, the UN special rapporteur Richard Falk challenged "those countries that have been and remain complicit, either directly or indirectly, inIsrael's violations of international law. That complicity includes those countries knowingly providing the military equipment including warplanes and missiles used in these illegal attacks."
Disregarding such challenges, as well as abundant evidence in UN resolutions and reports by international human rights organisations of Israel's unlawful use of force and weapons resulting in human rights violations, including collective punishment, the British government continues its cooperation with Israel's army and military industry.
In a Parliamentary Statement on 21 April 2009, the then British Foreign Secretary David Miliband revealed that components supplied by Britain were "almost certainly" used by Israel in its military operation Cast Lead. He cited F16 combat aircraft, Apache attack helicopters, Saar-Class corvettes and armoured personnel carriers. The British government went on to announce that it would be reviewing arms sales to Israel in light of the atrocities committed in Gaza.
Despite this, the British government licensed arms exports to Israel between 2008 and 2012 amounting to £130 million. By continuing to sell arms to Israel, the British government is giving direct material support for Israel's aggression and sending a clear message of approval for its actions.
Israel’s arms exports
This arms trade is not one way. In 2010, approximately 80% ofIsrael's military production output was exported, and exports by Israeli arms companies totalled £4.4 billion. Israel takes advantage of its armed conflicts and military assaults for "field-testing" its weapons and doctrines of warfare against Palestinians. Israeli companies will often boast their comparative advantage in the global arms market due to their extensive "testing" in "real life" situations.
Such exports, tested on the civilian Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza strip are imported and integrated into the British armed forces. The British army has awarded Elbit, one of the companies contracted to provide surveillance equipment for the West Bank apartheid wall, and its partner company Thales UK a contract worth over US$1 billion for the development of the Watchkeeper, the next generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
Elbit was also awarded through its British subsidiary U-TacS, a 344.5 million contract to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) support capability for the UK armed forces operating in Afghanistan. Israel's international military trade relations work to bankroll and entrench its continued violence, militarism and expansionism.