The current war on Gaza
NB: Our web pages on Israel are in the process of being updated in the light of the ongoing genocide committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip. We apologies that the page is not fully up-to-date at this point. In the meantime, here are some key information and resources relating to the current situation, the UK and other countries’ arms trade with Israel, and international efforts in solidarity with Palestine.
- At the time of writing (11th January 2024), 23,400 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the Israeli ground and air assault since October 7, and 59,604 injured, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. (Al Jazeera). A further 7,000 are missing under the rubble and presumed dead.
- Over 65,000 housing units in Gaza have been destroyed, with 1.9 million of the 2.2 million population displaced, around 85% (UN OCHA).
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has warned that 40% of the population of Gaza is at risk of famine. In December, the International Food Security Phase Classification body (ICP), an international body assessing hunger and food insecurity worldwide, assessed that 90% of the Gaza population faced at least “Crisis” (phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity, with over 15%, 378,000 people, facing “Catastrophe” (phase 5 – famine conditions). They estimated that by early February, if fighting continued, as many as 40% of the population would face such Catastrophic food insecurity. Such conditions are “characterized by households experiencing an extreme lack of food, starvation, and exhaustion of coping capacities”.
- On 11 January, the International Court of Justice in the Hague (also known as the “World Court”, distinct from the International Criminal Court), opened a hearing in a case brought by South Africa against Israel under the Genocide Convention, accusing Israel of committing genocidal acts in Gaza.
- Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, together with the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) have applied for a Judicial Review against the UK Government’s continuing approval of export licences for arms to Israel.
- During a hearing with the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on 9 January, Foreign Secretary David Cameron evaded questions on a review of export licences for arms sales to Israel, but said that the FCDO had not given any advice that would lead to a suspension of export licences.
- Read CAAT’s statements on the current war: 11th January; 17 October, on UK arms exports to Israel; Joint letter to the UK Government on arms exports to Israel, with other NGOs.
- See CAAT’s Fact Sheet on UK arms trade with Israel
- Workers in Palestine website on Who Arms Israel
- The Workers in Palestine website generally, which follows a call for direct action against arms to Israel by Palestinian trade unions, has loads of resources including information, guides to taking action, etc.
- Forum on the Arms Trade resource page on US arms transfers to Israel
- Loads of actions have been taken against arms companies supplying Israel, and ships transporting arms to Israel, in the UK and globally. Here’s a selection of articles:
- Gaza protesters block BAE Systems aerospace factory in Lancashire – BBC News
- Gaza protesters block BAE Systems shipyard in Glasgow – BBC News
- More Than 1,000 UK Union Workers Blockade 4 Weapons Factories That Arm Israel | Truthout
- Activists blockade weapons factory in Brighton in Palestine protest (yahoo.com)
- Israel-Palestine war: Luton college suspends ties with arms firm after student protest | Middle East Eye
- Dockworkers and Labor Activists Can Block the Transport of Arms to Israel (jacobin.com)
- Israel-complicit arms companies shut down in UK by ACORN group (thecanary.co)
- Lockheed Martin factory under siege – Freedom News
- Shut Down the Companies That Are Arming Israel’s War (jacobin.com)
- Who are Palestine Action amid Leonardo UK Southampton protest? | Daily Echo
- Trade Unions across Six Countries disrupt Arms Trade with Israel — Workers in Palestine
- Pro-Palestinian protesters block entrances to UK’s BAE defence plant | Reuters
- Youth activists in St. Charles and Tacoma take bold stance against arms shipments to Israel | NationofChange
- Nonviolent Protest Temporarily Stalls Weapons Shipment to Israel from Port of Oakland | Democracy Now!
- UK workers blockade Elbit Systems arms factory in Kent (therealnews.com)
- 100+ Activists Stage Die-in in Front of Raytheon as Arms Maker Projects Profits from U.S. War Funding | Democracy Now!
- Canada: War profiteers targeted in solidarity with Palestine | Green Left
A fuller update to the website is pending.
Israel has been in illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, since 1967. Over this time, they have entrenched an Apartheid system of institutionalised discrimination and oppression. This includes a system of checkpoints, walls and surveillance that controls Palestinians’ daily lives, demolition of houses, schools, and entire communities, expansion of illegal settlements, and imprisonment, abuse, and torture of large numbers of Palestinians, including children. Within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens face systematic and institutionalised discrimination.
Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007 has created a severe humanitarian crisis, with over two thirds of the population food insecure. Four major military assaults on Gaza in 2008-09, 2012, 2014, and at the time of writing in 2021 have killed nearly 4,000 Palestinians. During the Great March of Return in 2018, Israeli forces killed over 180 unarmed protesters at the Gaza-Israel border, and injured 23,000. At the time of writing, the current 2023-24 Israeli war on Gaza has killed over 23,000 people, with 7,000 more buried under rubble and presumed dead.
CAAT and other NGOs, including War on want and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, have long called for an arms embargo on Israel, as well as a halt to all UK links with the Israeli arms industry, including UK arms purchases from Israel and joint arms development projects. These calls have grown stronger since Israel’s military action against Gaza in July 2014, with the ensuing deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians.
These calls led Prime Minister David Cameron to announce on 4 August 2014 that all export licences would be reviewed. Such ‘reviews’ by the government have not stopped the flow of UK arms to Israel; indeed, they have accelerated. Between 2016 and 2020, the UK issued Single Individual Export Licenses (SIELs) for arms sales to Israel to a value of £387 million, compared to just £67 million from 2011 to 2015. In addition, 37 Open Individual Export Licenses (OIELs) have been issued since 2014, allowing unlimited deliveries of specified types of equipment to Israel by the licensee over a longer period, typically 3 or 5 years. Even these do not cover sales of components for US-made F-35 stealth fighters sold to Israel, worth hundreds of millions of pounds to UK arms companies.