April 2019 – Arms trade to Israel

April 2019 – Arms trade to Israel

Thank you to those who contacted me about arms exports to Israel

I share your distress regarding the plight of the people of Gaza, but I do not believe that imposing a blanket arms embargo would resolve the situation.

The Government takes its defence export responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications, including those for Israel are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

These strict criteria take account of all prevailing circumstances at the time of application and includes human rights and international humanitarian law considerations. The Government does not issue export licences where there is a clear risk that the goods might be used for internal repression, in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law, or where the export would provoke or prolong conflict.

There is a pressing need for all parties to reach a wider agreement that addresses the underlying causes of conflict in Gaza and to take the necessary steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery. Any agreement should ensure that Hamas and other militant groups permanently end rocket and other attacks against Israel, that the Palestinian Authority resumes control of Gaza and restores effective governance, and that Israel lifts its restrictions to ease the suffering of ordinary Palestinians.

I am confident that by adhering to the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, the Government will continue to ensure that UK arms exports to Israel  are not used for internal repression, violating international humanitarian law, or for provoking or prolonging conflict.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.