Photo: Reuters
British arms exports to Israel up (archive photo)
Photo: Reuters

Report: Jump in UK arms sales to Israel

British Guardian newspaper says UK selling highest number of weapons to Israel since 1999

The number of licenses approved for the exports of weapons to countries accused by Britain of violating human rights has risen significantly in the past year, The British Guardian newspaper reported Thursday morning.


According to the report, licenses for sales of arms to Israel totaled 25 million pounds. The weapons sold include armored vehicles and missile components. The number of approvals for sales to Saudi Arabia rose by 25 percent, and also stands at 25 million pounds.


The authors of the article concluded with quarter-annual statistics publicized by the British foreign office and the "Campaign Against Arms Trade" organization. The figures show that another country wthat purchased a large quantity of weapons, worth 12.5 million pounds, is Indonesia.


Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia were 11 of the 20 countries presented in the annual report by the British foreign offices as countries of concern on the issue of human rights, and which despite that are able to purchase military equipment from Britain. "Campaign Against Arms Trade" also said that Britain approved arms sales to 14 out of 17 countries involved in armed conflict.


The sales approved to Israel are the highest since 1999, the Guardian reported.


British Foreign Minister Jack Straw demanded Israel to commit itself to not using the equipment against Palestinian civilians in the territories. In 2002, the British government announced that it was tightening its monitoring of weapons exported to Israel, after claims that the obligations were violated.


Regarding Indonesia, considered an ally in the struggle against Muslim extremists, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Britain would increase its weapons supply to the Asian country.


The British foreign office said in response that all weapons exports meet criteria established by the government: "The bottom line is that no piece of kit is used for external aggression or internal repression," said the UK's foreign office.


The Campaign Against Arms Trade group said: "The government has committed itself to leading international negotiations on an arms trade treaty to stop global arms flows to war zones and repressive regimes."

"Yet in the last twelve months it has licensed weapons exports precisely to these regimes ... The government must stop arming the world's human rights abusers," the statement added.


פרסום ראשון: 04.06.06, 08:14
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