UK urged to stop selling weapons to Israel after killing of aid workers – POLITICO

Scale of exports

The UK has licensed weapons worth more than £574 million to Israel since 2008, and UK defense exports will be worth £42 million in 2022, according to a study by the Library of the House of Commons.

Britain has decided to suspend arms sales to Israel. It did so in 1982 after Israel invaded Lebanon, and in 2002 it restricted the sale of any military equipment that could be used in the Palestinian territories.

But Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell stressed last week that the UK’s exports “are very small, amounting to 0.02% of Israel’s military imports”. Two British officials, speaking anonymously to discuss internal government discussions, warned against reading too much into Britain’s hardened rhetoric over the past 24 hours, suggesting it was aimed at this specific attack and not Israel’s overall approach to the war.

Britain’s main opposition Labor Party has also expressed caution about stopping arms sales, while urging Israel to comply with international law.

Business spokesman Darren Jones said on Wednesday that “the war would not end” if the UK stopped supplying weapons, although he understood why people would demand it “in these circumstances”.

However, speaking at the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday, Cameron said the UK would “watch very closely” whether Israel allows more aid to Gaza and called for an Israeli investigation into the incident is carried out “very quickly”.

The killing of World Central Kitchen staff comes amid increasing scrutiny over the safety of aid workers in Gaza as Israel responds to the deadly October 7 Hamas attack. The United Nations said Tuesday that nearly 200 aid workers have been killed so far in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Dan Bloom contributed reporting.


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