UK must suspend arms exports to Israel: Deputy premier


British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says the UK government should suspend its arms exports to Israel if the Tel Aviv regime resumes its military attacks on Gaza.

Speaking on his weekly phone-in on the LBC radio station on Thursday, Clegg said Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has claimed the lives of nearly 1,900 Palestinians, may have breached the criteria under which British arms export licenses were issued.

Israel launched its recent military offensive on the Gaza Strip on July 8. The Israeli regime and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip agreed to a three-day truce, which took effect at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Tuesday and is due to expire.

“I think it is crystal clear that it would be unacceptable to the British people and wholly wrong for us to do anything other than immediately suspending any existing licenses if that ceasefire were to come to an end and violence were to break out again,” the British deputy prime minister said.

The Liberal Democrat leader described Israel’s assaults as “clearly disproportionate,” saying, “How else are you supposed to describe the outrage – and it is an outrage – of three UN-protected schools being demolished in that way with huge loss of civilian life?”

During its military attacks on Gaza, the Israeli regime hit three schools that were being used as UN-run shelters for displaced Palestinians, killing and wounding a number of the civilians who had taken refuge against the Israeli attacks.

Documents obtained by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that arms export licenses worth £42 million have been granted to 130 British defense manufacturers since 2010 to sell military equipment to Israel.

Reports also showed earlier that the Israeli regime has been using weapons containing British-made components in the fatal aggression against the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, British Foreign Office Minister Sayeeda Warsi resigned over the UK government’s failure to take a firm stance against the Israeli aggression on Gaza.





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