Photograph of the Royal Courts of Justice in London

MEDIA RELEASE: Campaigners to hold emergency protest outside High Court as government tries to derail arms to Israel legal case

This government is trying to derail this case because it is complicit in genocide and it knows it.

  • Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will hold an emergency protest from 8am outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 23rd April. The protest is in support of GLAN and Al-Haq who are in court to argue that a Judicial Review over the UK government’s continuing arms sales to Israel should go ahead.
  • Despite overwhelming evidence of Israel breaching International Humanitarian Law, (IHL), the case was originally dismissed on 18th February. However, permission was granted for an oral hearing to challenge this decision.
  • CAAT is calling an emergency protest due to the government trying to derail the case. The government will argue that it wants a secret hearing based on evidence that it hasn’t yet provided to the court, and wants to delay the hearing. The protest is demanding justice for Palestinian people, that the government complies with international law and imposes an arms embargo and that the case is heard urgently and in public. 
  • Under the UK’s export guidelines, arms sales must be suspended when there is a clear risk they could be used to violate IHL. During its onslaught on Gaza, Israel has killed over 34,000 Palestinian people and its continued and deliberate denial of sufficient aid into the region is causing a catastrophic situation with over one million people facing a man-made famine. Other war crimes Israel has committed include the deliberate targeting of hospitals, refugee camps, journalists, and aid workers.
  • Pressure has been increasing on this government to suspend arms sales. This has included evidence it is suppressing legal advice confirming that Israel is breaking international law, a letter signed by over 600 legal experts calling for an arms embargo, and dozens of UN experts saying that arms sales must be halted.
  • Since 2015, the UK has exported £488m of military equipment to Israel in single issue licenses. However, this figure is just scratching the surface as it does not include open licenses. Under open licenses, a company can export unlimited amounts of specified equipment without further reporting requirements. There have been 62 such open licenses since 2015.
  • One open license is for components for the F35 combat aircraft Israel is using to bombard Gaza. UK industry makes 15% of each F35 in business that’s been worth at least £368 to UK industry since 2016. We do not know anything about how much has been exported to Israel using the other 61 licenses.

CAAT’s Media Coordinator, Emily Apple said:

“This government is trying to derail this case because it is complicit in genocide and it knows it. This is a broken system with government lawyers attempting to defend the indefensible. It is vitally important that not only does this case proceed, but it proceeds quickly and in public, given the atrocities Israel is committing in Gaza with the aid of UK arms exports. 

“Our government is treating Palestinian lives with contempt. It is making a mockery of both international law and domestic law. It is outrageous that arms sales haven’t been suspended and that legal action is needed. Instead this government is deliberately ignoring the horrific war crimes Israel is committing to safeguard the profits of arms dealers.”

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