Britain Threatens to Suspend Arms Export Licenses to Israel if Fighting Resumes in Gaza
JNS.org – The British government may restrict some arms shipments to Israel if the fighting between Hamas and Israel resumes.
During a review of British exports to Israel, the government’s business department had flagged 12 licenses for “components which could be part of equipment used by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza,” The Guardian reported. These licenses include equipment for military radar, combat aircrafts, and tanks.
“We welcome the current cease-fire in Gaza and hope that it will lead to a peaceful resolution. However, the U.K. government has not been able to clarify if the export license criteria are being met,” British Business Secretary Vince Cable said.
“In light of that uncertainty we have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licenses in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities,” he added.
Cable, who hails from the center-left Liberal Democrats party, has been in a coalition dispute with the Conservative Party—which is led by Prime Minister David Cameron—over restricting arms sales to Israel.
Cameron has said he supports Israel’s “legitimate right to self-defense” and believes that restricting arms exports may by an empty gesture that would hamper the British government’s relationship with Israel and peace efforts in the region.
The development that Britain may block arms sales to Israel come amid a new Wall Street Journal report that the White House halted a shipment of air-to-ground missiles to the Jewish state last month.