Arms exports, UK and Israel

While the UK disapproved of the Israeli offensive in Rafah and the endangerment of civilians, ‘Great’ Britain is more than happy to foot the arms bill and load Israel’s guns in the pursuit of Middle East trade deals.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Cameron claimed on 12th May that the absence of UK exports would only “strengthen Hamas” and “make a hostage deal less likely,” Reuters reported.

Although, the UK government considers its arms exports – which are obviously essential in Israel’s fight against terrorism and eradication of Hamas – to be “relatively small” as their shipments amounted to “only” £42m (or $53m) in 2022, the BBC reported.

READ: Borrell slams US ‘fatigue’ in Middle East

After all, Britain is in a “completely different position” to the United States when it comes to providing arms to Israel. Recently the US shipped a $1 billion arms package to Israeli forces, after Biden had said that he would not be “supplying the weapons,” for the Rafah offensive.

Cameron and UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak are able to clear their consciences thanks to Britain’s strict licensing system – which already accounts for less than 1% of Israel’s UK-imported weaponry.

Rather than alter the UK’s approach to arms exports or hold Israel accountable, Cameron insists that the “better answer” would be for Hamas to accept a hostage deal.

Since Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel on 7th October 2023, Al Jazeera’s live death toll shows that at least 35,272 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 15,000 children.

In the many international calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, the US vetoed the notion three times and the UK abstained from the UN Security Council votes.

However, the UK may find itself in hot water with Iran as Iranian officials slam Britain for supporting Israel after its attack in April.

Reuters/BBC/Al Jazeera/The Guardian


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