UK Weapons Exports to Israel Soar to Record High

UK Weapons Exports to Israel Soar to Record High
UK Weapons Exports to Israel Soar to Record High

The UK approved record weapons export licenses to Israel last year, according to new figures by the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

In 2017, Britain issued $294 million worth of arms licenses to defense contractors exporting to Israel, up 256% when compared with the $114 million licensed in 2016. The year before that, in 2015, licenses worth $27 million were issued.

In total, the UK has sold arms and military hardware worth more than $466 million to Israel over the past five years, Al Jazeera reported.

Among the weapons that the UK sold to Israel were assault rifles, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles and components for targeting equipment. The new figures were published amid the Israeli army’s deadly response to the weekly demonstrations held by Palestinians in the east of the Gaza Strip since the end of March. At least 120 Palestinians have been killed by sniper fire, and more than 13,000 wounded.

Andrew Smith, CAAT spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that UK weaponry previously sold to Israel was used in at least two Israeli offensives on the besieged coastal enclave.

“UK government investigations have confirmed that UK arms were used against the people of Gaza in 2009 and 2014,” he said, calling for “a full investigation” to determine whether “they were used in recent atrocities.”

The exponential increase of arms sale is testament to the “increasingly close political and military relationship between the UK and Israel,” Smith added.

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