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Miliband: Reevaluate export licenses
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British MPs slam weapons exports to Israel
Guardian reports group of MPs want strict government control over weapons sales after learning British equipment was 'almost certainly' used in Cast Lead, to ensure no future use of exports in 'occupied territories'

British MPs say they will call for a change in policy in weapons sales to Israel following a government announcement that the state "almost certainly" used UK-made weaponry in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the Guardian reported Monday.

 

"It is regrettable that arms exports to Israel were almost certainly used in Operation Cast Lead," the Commons committee on strategic export controls said in a report.

 

"This is in direct contravention to the UK government's policy that UK arms exports to Israel should not be used in the occupied territories."

 

The cross-party group of MPs welcomed a government decision to revoke five export licenses for equipment intended for the Navy, but said more substantial conclusions should be drawn in order to make sure British-made weapons would not be used in the Palestinian territories in the future.

 

After the Gaza incursion, Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced that any Israeli appeal for weapons "will be assessed taking into account the recent conflict".

 

He said Israel had almost certainly used British exports, including F-16 cockpits, fire control equipment and radar systems, Apache chopper engine parts, and navigation equipment.

 

Miliband said the government would check all export licenses to see if they needed to be reevaluated. He added that Britain's control over exports was of the most efficient worldwide.

 

According to the Commons committee report published by the Guardian, in 2008 Israel imported British weapons worth more than 27.5 million pounds.

 

In the nine months following Operation Cast Lead, almost 4 million pounds worth of weapons and equipment for military and civilian use was sent to Israel. Though the data shows a decline in figures, Britain continues to sell various weapons to Israel today, including ammunition for light arms and rifle parts.

 

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