It has been revealed that the United Kingdom has approved the sale of arms worth $445 million to Israel since the 2014 Gaza war.
The value of sales increased tenfold despite warnings that British weapons, including gear for snipers, could be used to kill Palestinians
The Middle East Eye online news agency reported that figures compiled by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) indicate that the arms included components for drones, combat aircraft and helicopters along with spare parts for sniper rifles.
A spokesman for CAAT said: “There is little doubt that UK equipment has been used against the people of Gaza time and again, but that hasn’t stopped successive governments from licensing even more arms to the Israeli military.
Press TV reports: The report has raised fresh concerns that the weapons made by Britain are being used by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, amid fears that components in sniper rifles used to kill scores of Palestinian civilians in recent weeks could have been made in the UK.
New Department for International Trade figures show that Arms export licenses to Israel increased to £216 million or $300 million at current exchange rates, last year from £20 million ($28 million) in the wake of the Gaza war.
They include a major £183 million ($255 million ) license covering “technology for military radars.” Ministers have also approved the sale for export of grenades, bombs, missiles, armored vehicles, assault rifles, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles and components for sniper rifles, arguing that Israel has a right to defend itself from military assault and “terrorist attacks.”
“The appalling scenes we have seen over recent weeks are yet another stark reminder of the repression and abuse that Palestinians are living under every day. The response to protests hasn’t just been heavy handed, it has been a massacre,” Andrew Smith, a spokesman for CAAT said.
“By continuing to arm Israeli forces the UK isn’t just making itself complicit in future attacks, it is sending a message of support for the collective punishment that has been inflicted,” Smith added.
In March another report revealed that the United Kingdom is using secretive licenses to hide the scale of its arms exports to countries with dire human rights records in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is by far the largest buyer of UK arms under the opaque open licensing system.