It is not just students at Warwick that are concerned about the involvement of “British” companies in the recent Gaza conflict. In the past few days, it has been reported that MPs were shocked to discover that UK arms companies are supplying Israel with weapons for use in the occupied territories.
The same has come out in the USA as well: Guardian (blog). Numerous arms companies have been implicated in selling military equipment to Israel:
- Qinetiq: Parts for the Joint Strike Fighter, which Israel is a customer for
- Rolls Royce: Engine parts for F-16 jets
- Northrop Grumman: Has a close connection with “Israel aircraft industries”
- GE Aviation: Cannons on F-15 jets and Apache Helicopter propulsion
One of the many reasons, that was noted in the Guardian article, for many being only “suspected” is because accurate information about these companies is very difficult to come by. For more info about exports to Israel, check out the Campaign against the Arms Trade website.
In 2002 Israel was found to have broken its written assurance that no UK equipment would be used in the occupied territories, when it was disclosed that Centurion tanks had been converted by the IDF into armoured personnel carriers.
The UK continues to sell arms to Israel despite the UN stating that Israel “violates humanitarian law” and even though the UK’s own “Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria” are supposed to assess the impact on regional peace, security and stability and the human rights record of the recipient.
A call has been made by both the Liberal Democrats and Amnesty International (among other groups) for an arms embargo against Israel. Note, there is currently an embargo against the Palestinian territories. It is also illegal for any UK company to sell weapons to Hamas or related organisations anywhere under anti-terror laws.