Britain licensed £7 million worth of arms to Israel prior to bombing Gaza

New government figures collated by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), show that Britain approved £7 million worth of military licences to Israel during the six months before the recent bombing of Gaza.

The licences, include components for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones), combat aircrafts, targeting equipment and weapon sights.

These revelations follow a review overseen by Vince Cable’s Department of Business, Innovation & Skills that identified twelve licences for components that it concluded could been used in the recent conflict.

However, despite its own findings the Government chose not to suspend a single licence.

Andrew Smith from Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “Right up until the eve of the bombing the UK was supporting licences for the same kinds of weapons that Vince Cable’s own review found are likely to have been used against the people of Gaza.”

Earlier this month, in a legal letter written to CAAT, the Government announced that it would be conducting a new review of arms sales to Israel.

The UK has a history of selling arms to Israel. A Ministerial Statement on 21 April 2009, by the then Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband, confirmed that Israeli equipment used in Gaza in the 2008-9 conflict almost certainly contained UK-supplied components.

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Andrew continued: “Unfortunately it would not have been the first time UK weapons were used by Israel.

This new review will only be worthwhile if it means a real and fundamental change from business as usual.

The public was rightfully shocked by the bombardment. That is why the UK must announce a full embargo on all arms sales to Israel and an end to military collaboration.”

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