UK government: Business as usual in sending arms to Israel

17 July 2015 - 12:15pm
Press release

In the midst of Israel’s brutal bombing of Gaza last year, the UK government announced that it would review 12 military export licences for items which could have been used in the Israeli military attacks on Palestinians. The 11-month review resulted in no export licence suspensions and an announcement that no 'additional measures' will be applied.

Over 2,200 people, including 521 children, were killed during 'Operation Protective Edge' by Israeli military attacks last year. War on Want, Campaign Against Arms Trade and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have recently published a report called 'Arming Apartheid' which details the UK complicity in Israel's crimes through its arms trade. We found that in the six months prior to the summer 2014 attacks, the UK licensed exports to Israel of components for combat aircraft components, drone components, anti-armour ammunition and weapon night sights. These types of weapons and more were surely used by the Israeli military in its attacks. Nonetheless, in the four months directly following the war on Gaza, the UK licensed over £4 million more worth of military exports to Israel.

The UK government's own guidelines state that export licensing criteria for military and dual use items should 'consider a range of issues, including the existence of a clear risk that exports might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law'. The UN enquiry into the war accused Israel of multiple violations of human rights law, including possible war crimes.

The value of licences awarded for export to Israel amounted to £11,615,840 for military us and £28,992,833 for dual (civil or military) use in 2014 alone.

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Militarism and Security Campaigner, War on Want responded: "The review’s conclusion that business should continue as usual is a wholly inadequate response to the death and destruction wrought on the people of Gaza. The UK government is complicit in Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people, and will continue to be so as long as it trades arms with Israel. We demand that this trade stop immediately." 

Please visit our Stop Arming Israel campaign page to read a copy of the report, order more materials and take action now.

Stop Arming Israel

Join the call for an immediate two-way arms embargo on the arms trade with Israel

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