UK will suspend some arms export licences to Israel, but there's a catch

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Tuesday 12 August 2014 19:50

The government has been dubbed "outrageously weak" after announcing it will suspend 12 licences for components that could be used for weapons to Israel - but only if "significant hostilities" resume in Gaza.

Currently there is a ceasefire between the IDF and Hamas, after nearly a month of fighting which the UN estimates has left 1,962 Palestinians dead - 1,417 of whom are civilians.

Following Business Secretary Vince Cable announcing this evening that the government will "suspend these existing export licences in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities", Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said the government did not go far enough.

"It is a very weak position and it will be seen as a sign of political support for the Israeli government and military", its spokesperson Andrew Smith said in a statement.

"The public is rightfully shocked by the bombardment that has been taking place and the UK needs to take responsibility by revoking all current licences."

Baroness Warsi, who left the government last week over its policy towards Gaza, tweeted that she welcomed the decision but questioned how many licences were left in place.

However, the government's stance was also criticised by supporters of Israel, with some saying the move could provide an incentive for Hamas to fire upon Israel.

Since 2010 the UK government has licensed £42 million worth of military licences to Israel, including targeting systems and drone components.

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