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UK government challenged over Israeli arms exports

A British charity has launched a legal action against UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills after a decision not to suspend or revoke licenses for arms exports to Israel, Press TV reports.

The non-profit Campaign Against Arms Trades (CAAT) filed the lawsuit, arguing that the move is an attempt to challenge the Tory-led coalition government’s decision not to freeze or cancel 12 existing licenses for the exports of arms and weapons components to Israel.

British law firm Leigh Day, which represents the charity, has written to the business department, saying Britain’s failure to suspend the arms licenses to Israel during its onslaught against the Gaza Strip this summer was illegal since the British-made weapons could have been used in Tel Aviv’s military operations.

The Israeli regime launched an air offensive against Gaza on July 8 and later expanded its military campaign with a ground invasion of the Palestinian territory. Over 2,100 Palestinians, including 578 children and nearly 260 women, lost their lives in the attacks and some 11,000 were injured.

Andrew Smith, of CAAT, said the response by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to the Israeli aggression was “unacceptable.”

Smith added that Business Secretary Vince Cable had said he would suspend the licenses if the violence continued and when Tel Aviv carried on with its military operations against Gaza “he failed to follow through on his word.”

The business department did not give an immediate response to the legal action. Britain claims to have one of the world’s strictest arms export control systems.

However, since 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron’s government has issued £42 million worth of military licenses to Israel, including targeting systems and components for drones, military radars and tanks.

 

Related: UK-Israel trade hits record high despite Gaza carnage