Latest figures show the UK has sold a record amount of arms to Israel. And the news comes as Israeli violence against people in Gaza has once more reached horrific levels.
On 14 May, Israeli troops’ actions lead to the deaths of at least 60 Palestinian protesters. The extent of the violence was so great that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to investigate violations of international law in Gaza. It suggested Israel’s actions were “wholly disproportionate”.
Although the UK government abstained from the UN vote, it now faces questions about whether Israel used UK-made weapons in the violence last month. Because the latest figures from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) show that in 2017, the UK approved £221m worth of arms licenses to defence companies who export to Israel.
assault rifles, sniper rifles, small arms ammunition, exploding grenade ammunition, combat helicopters, surveillance and armed drones. These types of items are being used by Israeli security forces against unarmed protesters.
Repression and abuse
In April, Andrew Smith from CAAT told Middle Eastern Eye:
There is little doubt that UK equipment has been used against the people of Gaza time and again, but that hasn’t stopped successive governments from licensing even more arms to the Israeli military.
Smith called the attacks a “massacre” and said:
The appalling scenes we have seen over recent weeks are yet another stark reminder of the repression and abuse that Palestinians are living under every day…
By continuing to arm Israeli forces the UK isn’t just making itself complicit in future attacks, it is sending a message of support for the collective punishment that has been inflicted.
Don’t make this about Hamas. Keep your eyes on what Israel is doing. Stop blaming the victim, and scrutinise what the aggressor is doing here.
These latest figures show that we also need to scrutinise the actions of the UK government. Because when it profits from arms sales to Israel, that makes it complicit with this aggressor. And that’s a source of national shame.
– Sign the petition to end UK arms sales to Israel
– Join and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.