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Issue #1693      July 15, 2015

UK unethical arms sales to Israel

The UK government approved £4 million (AU$8.3) worth of arms sales to Israel in the immediate months following the Israeli government’s military bombardment of Gaza last summer, new research reveals.

Detailed analysis indicates that the related arms licences cover military hardware likely to be deployed if violence in the besieged coastal strip resumes.

Among the arms sales Britain presided over were special components for military helicopters and a range of hi-tech parts for guidance and navigation systems used by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

The former Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government also approved arms licences for a slew of third-party states that sell weapons to Israel. These particular licenses covered the sale of components for military communications equipment, helicopters used in combat and ground-to-ground missiles.

The controversial revelations formed part of a report authored by David Wearing, a researcher at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS). A member of Campaign Against the Arms Trade’s (CAAT) steering committee, Wearing’s work focuses on domestic and international politics.

The research, “Arming Apartheid: UK Complicity in Israel’s Crimes Against the Palestinian People,” analyses how Britain’s arming of Israel renders it complicit in grievous human rights violations.

“More than 2,000 people died in Israel's bombardment of Gaza, and yet in the months immediately following the conflict it was business as usual for the UK government and the arms companies they support,” he said.

Smith said that Britain continues to sell arms to Israel, despite the Israeli administration’s continued violation of international law.

“The continuation of arms sales represents a form of political as well as material support from the UK to Israel despite the construction of the ‘apartheid wall’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements there and the ongoing blockade of Gaza,” he said.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Sarah Colborne argued Palestinians will not be freed from Israeli occupation, discrimination, and bloodshed until sanctions are imposed on Israel.

Ryvka Barnard, a senior campaigner on militarism and security at War on Want, said the Arming Apartheid study highlights Britain’s complicity in “Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.”

She argued that the global campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel has become more vital than ever.

“Only a full two-way arms embargo can ensure the UK will no longer be complicit in Israeli state crimes and abuses,” he said.

Britain has a history of unethical arms sales to Israel.

Russia Today (rt.com)

Next article – CP of South Sudan – “Negotiate to end civil war”

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