UK Military Exports to Israel During 2014 Gaza Bombardment

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Between July and August last year, the Israeli military launched its "Operation Protective Edge" in the Gaza strip. The conflict led to the deaths of more than 2000 people, the majority of whom were Palestinian civilians, including a reported 578 children, 263 women, and 102 elderly.

Israel's heavy bombardment of Gaza during the operation was widely condemned by human rights groups and governments across the world. The UK government called for a ceasefire and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said Israel's actions amounted to "a disproportionate form of collective punishment" that was leading to "a humanitarian crisis in Gaza."

But documents reveal that while the conflict was ongoing, the UK government continued approving the export of military equipment to Israel.

Arms exports records for the period between July and September 2014 show the UK approved exports of military and other equipment to Israel worth more than £2.3 million (that's about $3.4 million) including "components for combat helicopters" and "military aircraft navigation equipment" to be used by the Israeli air force, plus "targeting equipment," "components for targeting equipment," "components for electronic warfare equipment,"  and "military radars."

During the same period, the UK government also approved a licence that covered the trade of assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, weapon sights, small arms ammunition, and body armour between a number of countries, including Israel.

Read the export report here (Israel details are between pages 145 and 149).