Britain has enforced a limited arms embargo on Israel, refusing to supply the Jewish State with replacement parts and other equipment for its Sa’ar 4.5 gunships, in retaliation of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Britain’s Foreign Office informed the Israeli embassy in London of the sanctions a few days ago, in response to heavy pressure by MPs and human rights organizations. The move came following a government review of 182 licenses for arms exports to Israel that led to the decision to cancel five licenses—some of which included the spare parts for the Sa’ar 4.5 gunships.
Analysts, however, have stated that the embargo should not impact the Israeli Navy’s operational capabilities. The significance of the move is political, not military. Other European countries may follow suite. Most likely to imitate the U.K. is Belgium, which sells Israel equipment used to disperse demonstrations.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told public radio, “We've had many embargoes in the past... We can manage. This shouldn't bother us.”