UK refuses to halt arms exports to Israel
The British government has refused to halt arms exports to the Israeli regime despite earlier pledges that it would rescind weapons sales licenses to the regime if military attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip resumed.
“We said we would suspend licenses if there was a significant resumption of hostilities,” said a government spokesperson on Tuesday after Israeli forces broke a temporary truce with the Palestinian resistance.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. Our assessment so far is the resumption of hostilities has been limited,” he claimed.
Earlier this month, 12 licenses for British companies to sell arms to the Tel Aviv regime were threatened with suspension if hostilities continued in the region.
“We have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licenses in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities,” business secretary Vince Cable said.
No new licenses of military hardware have been issued for use by Israeli forces during the review period “and as a precautionary measure this approach will continue until hostilities cease,” Cable added.
Cable’s remarks followed the announcement of a ceasefire in Gaza last week. He expressed hope it would lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The ceasefire, however, broke off Tuesday when Israeli negotiators withdrew from truce talks in Cairo.
More than 25 air strikes hit Gaza following the end of the ceasefire, which killed a woman and a two-year-old girl, and injured more than 15 other Palestinians.
Since 2010, the UK government has licensed 42 million pounds worth of military licenses to the Israeli regime, including targeting systems and drone components.
The UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has filed a lawsuit against the British government over the lucrative weapons deals with Tel Aviv.
“If arms from the UK are being used to commit crimes against humanitarian law, and human rights law, then export licenses for these materials must be revoked immediately,” said Rosa Curling, of the human rights team at Leigh Day, which represents the CAAT.
Curling further warned if London failed to act, the government’s current policy would be unlawful and “susceptible” to legal challenge.