Monday, August 16, 2010

Arms to Israel

Arms to Israel « LRB blog

The UK supplies Israel with a steady stream of arms on a ‘case-by-case basis’, although none of them are supposed to be used inside the Occupied Territories. In practice there is no way of knowing what Israel does with the kit it buys, so British companies are restricted from selling things, including fighter parts and missile systems, that have been used in the Occupied Territories in the past. But under the current rules the US can still tranship this kind of hardware to Israel through the UK.

‘The UK government is keen to maintain good relations with the US defence industry so they leave it to the exporter to decide what is to be transhipped,’ Ian Prichard from the Campaign against the Arms Trade told me. ‘Since Israel is not one of the blacklisted nations for arms exports, apart from Category A and B goods which are very few, if the US considers it is OK to export something to Israel then it is OK for us.’

Category A goods include cluster munitions and equipment designed for execution and torture; Category B includes most small arms, long range missiles and unmanned air vehicles. All other military equipment is Category C, which means the US can still export to Israel the weapons that have wreaked most of the destruction in the Occupied Territories in past conflicts.

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