The Campaign Against Arms Trade has called for the UK government to investigate if UK-made arms have been used in the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
This follows seven days of bombing, including the bombing of homes and the offices of media organisations. Amnesty International has said it is likely that war crimes are being committed in the conflict.
Many of the weapons and components licensed by the UK are the kind of arms that are likely to be used in this sort of bombing campaign. It would not be the first time. A review by the government at the time found 12 licences for arms which are likely to have been used in the 2014 bombardment of Gaza. Likewise, in 2010 the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that UK-made arms had “almost certainly” been used in the 2009 bombing campaign.
Since 2015 the UK has licensed over £400 million worth of arms to Israeli forces, including:
- £183 million worth of ML22 licences (military technology).
- £104 million worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones).
- £20 million worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures).
- £4.6 million worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks).
- £1.9 million worth of ML3 licences (ammunition).
- £1 million worth of ML1 licences (small arms).
The actual level of exports will be significantly higher, as there have also been 43 Open Licences in this period. These are mainly for aircraft equipment. Open Licences allow for an unlimited quantity and value of exports. The UK also produces 15 per cent of the value of each F-35 stealth combat aircraft produced, of which 27 have been delivered to Israel so far.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “There can be no justification and no excuses for the brutality of the bombardment we have seen. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, including many children. The suffering will only intensify the longer the bombing continues.
“We know that UK made arms have been used against Palestinians before, but that has done nothing to halt the flow of weapons. There must be a suspension of arms sales, and a full review into whether UK weapons have been used and if they are implicated in possible war crimes.
“For decades now, successive governments have talked about their commitment to peacebuilding, while continuing to arm and support Israeli forces. These arms sales do not just provide military support, they also send a clear sign of political support for the occupation and blockade, and the violence that is being inflicted.”
* Source: Campaign Against Arms Trade