CAMPAIGN Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is accusing the UK government and arms industry of complicity in war crimes committed by the Israeli government. UK industry provides 15 per cent of the components for the F35 stealth combat aircraft that Israel is currently using in the bombardment of Gaza. CAAT estimates that since 2016, the contract for the components is worth £336 million.
CAAT is demanding the government revoke all licences for arms exports, and is backing the calls from Palestinian trade unions for workers to refuse to build or export weapons to Israel.
Between 2018 and 2022, the UK exported arms to the value of £146 million via Single Issue Export Licences. However, a large proportion of the military equipment exported is via Open General Export Licences. These open licences, which include the F35 components, lack transparency and allow for unlimited quantities and value of exports of the specified equipment without further monitoring.
Emily Apple, CAAT’s Media Coordinator said: “While there has rightly been worldwide condemnation of Hamas’ attack on civilians, there has not been the same condemnation of Israel’s targeting of civilians in Gaza. There should be no hierarchy when it comes to the killing of civilians. However in continuing to arm Israel, this government is showing that it does not value Palestinian lives.
“Through its arms sales, and particularly through the supply of components for the F35s, the UK is complicit in war crimes in Gaza. The situation in Gaza is catastrophic and is only set to get worse. The only people profiting from this escalation in conflict are arms dealers. BAE Systems, one of the companies involved in producing the F35s, has seen its share prices reach a record high. It’s time to take a stand and show that the UK values all civilian lives by immediately revoking all arms exports to Israel.”
* More information on UK arms exports to Israel here.
* Source: Campaign Against Arms Trade