Stop selling arms to Israel, Quakers tell UK government
Quakers have joined calls on the UK government to suspend arms sales to Israel due to the “clear risk" that the weapons might be used in violation of international law.
With the issue to be debated in parliament today, 12 December, Amnesty International and others wrote to Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, and Development Minister Andrew Mitchell.
Our organisations demand an immediate suspension of arms transfers to all parties to the current conflict- signatories
Under international and domestic law, the UK must prevent the transfer of military equipment and technology where it might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international law, they said, outlining the relevant laws.
Since 2015, the UK has licensed at least £474 million worth of military exports to Israel, including components for combat aircraft, missiles, tanks, technology, smalls arms and ammunition.
The UK provides about 15 per cent of the components in the F-35 stealth bomber aircraft currently being used in Gaza.
During the 2014 Gaza hostilities, when David Cameron was Prime Minister, the government reviewed licensed exports to Israel.
It warned that extant licences for components which could be used by the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza would be suspended if significant hostilities resumed, as it would not be able to clarify if export criteria were being met.
The attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups from Gaza on 7 October this year, when 1,200 people were killed and 200 taken hostage, were war crimes and could not be justified under any circumstances, the letter said.
Since then, over 18,000 Palestinian people have been killed. Israeli forces have attacked medical facilities, staff and vehicles, and bombed houses and facilities sheltering displaced people.
Such direct attacks on civilians and collective punishment of the population are also war crimes, signatories including War on Want and Human Rights Watch said.
“Our organisations demand an immediate suspension of arms transfers to all parties to the current conflict," they said.
“For the UK government this requires a halt to the arming of Israel. Failure to do so risks the Government breaching its own laws and being complicit in grave abuses."