Socialist Worker 2135, 24 January 2009
This article should be read after: Eyewitness report: Israel is guilty of war crimes.The Israeli army’s murderous assault on Gaza has been carried out with weapons made in Britain.
The British government licensed £24 million of British arms exports to Israel in the first half of last year – a £6 million increase on exports licensed during the whole of 2007.
Exports included components for combat aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, naval radars, electronic warfare equipment, weapon sights and military communications technology.
Human rights group Amnesty International recently highlighted evidence that engines for Israel’s unmanned military aircraft are being manufactured in Britain. United Nations agencies in Gaza have reported that these “drones” were used in the assault on the Palestinian population.
Britain’s Labour government also licences components for use in Apache combat helicopters and F-16 fighter planes, both of which are used by the Israeli army.
Britain also imports arms from Israel. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade notes that the government spends “millions of pounds each year on ‘battle-tested’ arms from Israeli companies, including 2,000 cluster shells that were used in Basra in 2003”.
Israel is one of the most militarised and highly armed states in the world. It has repeatedly committed atrocities against Palestinians.
Yet Gordon Brown has refused to issue any kind of serious arms
embargo on Israel. Instead he offers the services of the British navy to help stop the “smuggling” of arms to Palestinian resistance fighters.
We should fight to force Brown to break all diplomatic, military and commercial links with Israel – including the British arms trading that helps to fuel Israel’s terrorist war on the Palestinians.