Friday, 1 August 2014

Local MP questions possible UK military support for Israel

As Israel continues to launch a bloody war against the Palestinian people of Gaza, local MP Katy Clark has spoken of her anger that the UK Government has refused to even investigate whether any British-manufactured weapons or components have been used by the Israeli military.

With the United Nations condemning Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians, Ms Clark asked that the Tory-Lib Dem Government investigate to determine if Britain had supplied any of the weaponry or military components being used in the Israeli attacks. However, Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood indicated that the government had “no plans” for such a review.

The American administration of President Barak Obama has been heavily criticised for continuing to supply Israel with weapons and ammunition, even after last week’s bombing and killing of Palestinian civilians sheltering in a United Nations school.

In 2009 the then Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband confirmed to the UK Parliament that British-manufactured components for F16 aircraft, Apache helicopters and Saar-Class Corvette Naval vessels were “almost certainly” used by Israeli forces during a 2008/09 attack on Gaza .

Following yet another Israeli attack against the Palestinians, in 2012, a British government assessment found there was no evidence that UK-manufactured weapons or components had been used. However, in 2013 the UK Government granted 301 Standard Individual Export Licenses to Israel, valued at over £7.8bn, which included components for military combat vehicles, combat naval vessels and military helicopters.

In the current Israeli bombardment of Gaza, more than 1,400 Palestinians have been killed, including many children.

Katy Clark said, “The British public have rightly been appalled at the scale of civilian deaths in Gaza. Hundreds-of-thousands have taken to the streets over the past two weeks to condemn Israeli military action. They now have a right to know the level of support the United Kingdom has provided to the Israeli armed forces through arms sales.”

The Labour MP for North Ayrshire & Arran argued, “By refusing to investigate this vital question the British Government are trying to bury their heads in the sand. This is a shameful approach to take and frankly makes the Government look as if it has something to hide. It urgently needs to face up to its responsibilities. A thorough investigation needs to be established at the earliest opportunity.”

Ms Clark’s call was backed by Andrew Smith, Media Co-ordinator for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, who said, “The UK has a strong two-way military relationship with Israel, which has lined the pockets of arms companies, but has had a devastating impact on Palestinians. UK companies are working with Israeli drone manufacturers, and UK components were used in the bombing of Gaza six years ago. When governments sell weapons into war-zones they cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for what happens if they are used.”

Sarah Colborne, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, added, “We know that UK component parts were used during the Israeli offensive against Palestinians in Gaza in 2008/09, and now – by refusing to investigate whether this is true now - the Government is refusing to face up to its complicity in Israel’s crimes. We commend Katy Clark’s determination to get to the bottom of this and force the Government to face up to their responsibilities.”

No comments:

Post a Comment