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UK Revokes arms export licences to Israel: Amnesty response

Responding to news reports today that the UK has suspended some arms export licences to Israel, Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“No-one should sell weapons to a country where there is a serious risk that they may be used to commit human rights abuses. UK arms export controls insist that each weapons transfer is assessed on human rights grounds.

“In April David Miliband said that the U.K. would review all its weapons exports to Israel, in the wake of the Israel Defense Forces' recent offensive on the Gaza Strip.

“In a report earlier this month, Amnesty detailed how Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war.

“Given the weight of evidence that Israel committed war crimes in their offensive against Gaza, it is quite right that the UK should revoke any licences of weapons or components that may be used in this way.

“However, this doesn’t go far enough. Amnesty has uncovered evidence of war crimes committed by both sides in the conflict. We are calling on all countries to suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions, to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk that it will be used for serious violations of human rights.

“We will also be monitoring closely to ensure that the UK does not renege on its promises. In the past we have seen a tightening of restrictions against Israel in the wake of a major offensive, only for them to be loosened again once the issue falls out of the public eye.”

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