CAAT calls for UK to end arms sales and military support for Israeli forces following Gaza killings

  • UK has licenced £442 million worth of arms to Israel since 2015
  • UK arms implicated in previous atrocities against Palestine 
  • 44 Palestinians reportedly killed by air strikes 

Campaign Against Arms Trade has called on the UK government to condemn the abuses inflicted by Israeli forces over recent days, including air strikes that have killed 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and injured over 300 people. 

The airstrikes are the latest round of brutal bombardments of the Gaza strip. It follows the killing of 260 Palestinians in the Israeli attacks on Gaza between 10th May and 21st May 2021. Over a quarter of those killed were children. Following those attacks in May 2021, 78 MPs called for an investigation to determine whether UK-made arms and components had been used in the violence, and for a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel until such an investigation had been completed.

Since the Conservative government was elected in May 2015 the UK has licenced over £442 million worth of arms to Israeli forces, including: 

  • £183 million worth of ML22 licences (military technology) 
  • £117 million worth of ML10 licences (aircraft, helicopters, drones) 
  • £22 million worth of ML4 licences (grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
  • £4.6 million worth of ML6 licences (armoured vehicles, tanks) 
  • £1.9 million with of ML3 licences (ammunition) 
  • £1.1 million worth of ML1 licences (small arms) 

The actual level of exports will be significantly higher, as there have also been 47 Open Licences in this period. These are mainly for aircraft equipment. Open Licences allow for an unlimited quantity and value of exports. 

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.

Katie Fallon of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: 

“The people of the besieged Gaza Strip have suffered years of injustice and bloodshed at the hands of Israeli forces, and supported by governments like the UK through arms sales. 

The recurring cycle of bombardments, each time claiming the lives of Palestinians including a high number of children, serves as a constant threat to life, and an inescapable reminder that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living under the brutal daily reality of occupation. The latest temporary truce in place, accompanied by the repeated failure of the international community to hold Israel to account, leaves Palestinians counting the days before the pattern repeats itself and more loved ones are lost to violence by Israeli forces.

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. 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.”

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