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Business as usual: UK arms factories ‘profit’ from Palestinian bloodshed

‘Against a backdrop of widespread bloodshed and devastation in Gaza, a mounting body of evidence indicates military equipment used by Israel during Operation Protective Edge was made in the UK.

As violence wanes  (Note: this article was published prior to the Israel-Gaza ceasefire cessation  toay)in the besieged Palestinian enclave, scrutiny of UK arms exports to Israel is amplifying. While Cairo peace talks between Israel and Hamas bring a sense of reprieve to Gaza’s rubble-laden streets, damning evidence indicates Israel used UK military wares during Operation Protective Edge. UK government statements, photographic evidence, IDF commanders’ recent praise of drones deployed in Gaza, and Israel’s purchasing patterns of foreign military equipment all appear to indicate this is the case.

Britain’s arms trade relations with Israel are extremely lucrative. Since 2010, British authorities have presided over the sale of £42 million worth of military produce to the Middle Eastern state. And on an annual basis, the British government grants up to £15 million worth of licenses to UK defense firms for the export of military equipment to Israel. These figures stem from in-depth research conducted by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), a London-based NGO dedicated to tackling the global arms industry’s impact on human rights.

Approximately 44 defense companies spanning Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland broker UK arms exports to Israel, according to the CAAT. Four such firms are Raytheon, Schleifring Systems, Selex Galileo, and UAV Engines. Each of these defense factories epitomize an acutely profitable yet contentious set of military trade relations between Britain and Israel. Amidst nationwide concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, there is strong reason to surmise drone engines, bomb components and other parts produced by these firms were deployed by the IDF during its recent military attacks on the region.’

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