The British government said it would suspend 12 export licenses if 'significant' hostilities in Gaza restart
LONDON - The British government has pledged to suspend military-use export licenses to Israel if the ceasefire with Gaza breaks down and "significant" hostilities are renewed.
Twelve licenses to supply British components that could have a military application have been identified.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The U.K. government has not been able to clarify if the export license criteria are being met. 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."
The licenses mentioned include components for radar systems, combat aircraft and tanks.
The government said the suspensions would not include components for Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield or a 2013 license to export up to £7.7 billion of cryptographic equipment. The government said the latter did not meet military specifications.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade, a U.K.-based grassroots organization, labelled the government’s response "outrageously weak." Activist Andrew Smith said: "The U.K. needs to take responsibility by revoking all current licenses. It should announce a full embargo on all arms sales to Israel as well as an end to all military-industrial collaboration with Israel."
He said the government’s position would be seen as a sign of support for Israel.
In 2010, the government licensed £42 million worth of military licenses to Israel, including targeting systems and drone components.
Israel’s offensive against Gaza has resulted in 1,951 Palestinians killed -- the vast majority of them civilians.
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