It is noted with concern that UK licences worth millions of pounds are still being granted for the export to Israel of categories of British arms and arms components including sniper and assault rifles, pistols, weapon sights, targeting equipment, ammunition for small arms and grenades, smoke canisters, tanks, combat and military helicopters, military support and combat aircraft, and civil riot control protection equipment notwithstanding that the leader and Prime Minister of the Israeli Likud government is now facing imminent trial on serious bribery and corruption charges.
Why is the British Government not accountable for the arms export licences it grants, particularly to suspect regimes? Ministers have stated they do not collect data on the use of such equipment after sale but the Government is reminded that criteria 2 and 4 of the consolidated criteria on arms exports precludes licensing where there is a risk that items must be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
Considering the need not to adversely affect regional stability in any significant way and in the light of the extensive use of live fire by Israeli forces against Palestinians in Gaza, why have UK arms sales to Israel not been suspended unless it can be demonstrated that weapons and components imported from the UK are used solely in accordance with the consolidated criteria?
Could it be explained by the verified fact that a current member of the present Cabinet together with a prominent lobbyist for Israel in the House of Lords, were discovered to have colluded together in clandestine negotiations with the Netanyahu government during the Theresa May administration in 2017 leading to the forced resignation of the then Cabinet minister for international development, now, astonishingly, Britain’s current Home Secretary?
It would appear that the UK, under the current government, has now abdicated any responsibility for maintaining an ethical export policy that was specifically adopted to ensure that Britain is not complicit in torture, killings or other violations of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.
How immeasurably sad that we have sunk to such a low level on the international stage that we are now no better than some banana republic selling arms indiscriminately to any regime around the globe, regardless of the consequential, inevitable killings and political instability resulting from such a disastrous foreign policy.
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Hans Stehling (pen name) is an analyst based in the UK. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
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