Thursday, 14 August 2014

Britain decides to keep on arming Israel

Britain remains determined to keep on arming Israel, judging by a decision taken by one of the most senior figures in the UK government this week.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has reviewed 130 licenses granted for exporting British weapons to Israel. On Tuesday, he announced that just twelve of these licenses would be suspended “in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.”

This means that if the current “truce” between Israel and Hamas holds, then Britain will deliver all the military equipment that Israel has ordered. Israel will be able to prepare for its next offensive against Gaza, with the aid of British weaponry.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in London has complained that Cable’s decision was “not good enough.” Andrew Smith, a spokesperson for CAAT, called on the government to announce a “full embargo on all arms sales to Israel as well as an end to all military-industrial collaboration with Israel.”

Broken promises

Cable’s stance is a case of broken promises. His party, the Liberal Democrats, had urged that Britain cease selling arms to Israel in early 2009 (as a response to Operation Cast Lead, a three-week bombardment of Gaza).

The Lib Dems were in opposition then. Now that they are in government, Cable appears more interested in pleasing arms-dealers than honoring commitments to defend human rights. more


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