01 July 2015, Press releases
*Licences include direct arms sales and military collaboration with Israeli companies
*UK agreed 36 further licences with third parties for arms going to Israel
The latest official government figures, collated by War on Want, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), reveal that the UK approved £4 million worth of arms sales to Israel in the four months that followed last year's bombardment of Gaza.
The licences cover equipment that is likely to be used if violence resumes. These included components for military helicopters and licences for military guidance and navigation equipment. The UK also agreed 36 licences to third party countries for weapons being sold to Israel. These included licences for components for surface-to-surface missiles, combat helicopters and military communications equipment.
The revelations are included in Arming Apartheid: UK Complicity in Israel's Crimes Against the Palestinian People a new report written by David Wearing, researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and published jointly by the three organisations. The report focuses on the extent and nature of the arms trade between the UK and Israel.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “More than 2000 people died in Israel's bombardment of Gaza, and yet in the months immediately following the conflict it was business as usual for the UK government and the arms companies they support.”
Last year saw a review overseen by the then Business Secretary Vince Cable that identified twelve licences for components that it concluded may have been used in the 2014 assault. However, despite its own findings the Government chose not to revoke or even suspend a single licence.
The continuation of arms sales represents a form of political as well as material support from the UK to Israel despite the construction of the 'apartheid wall' in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements there and the ongoing blockade of Gaza.
Sarah Colborne, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “By continuing to arm Israel, the UK government continues to arm apartheid. Sanctions are vital if the Palestinians are to see a future free from occupation, apartheid, killings and destruction.”
The three organisations have called for a full two-way arms embargo, comprising an end to exports, imports and all others forms of military collaboration.
Ryvka Barnard Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security at War on Want said: “The Arming Apartheid report exposes the UK government's continued complicity in Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people, making the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel, now in its 10th year, as important as ever. Only a full two-way arms embargo can ensure the UK will no longer be complicit in Israeli states crimes and abuses.”
The UK has a history of irresponsible arms sales to Israel. A Ministerial Statement on 21 April 2009, by the then Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband, confirmed that Israeli equipment used in Gaza in the 2008-9 conflict “almost certainly” contained UK-supplied components.
David Wearing, the report’s author, said:“Ministers’ claims that the UK enforces stringent controls on arms exports simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Any real restriction comes from the embarrassment of bad publicity, and then only in the wake of a conflict, too late for the Palestinians affected.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Sara Apps, Palestine Solidarity Campaign: 020 7700 6192 Sara.firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade: 020 7281 0297 Andrew@caat.org.uk
David Wearing, report author: 07742 499812 David_wearing@soas.ac.ukAdd Comment
01 July 2015, Latest news
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide, has sent a message of support for the launch of our Arming Apartheid report and the accompanying Stop Arming Israel campaign:
The Palestinian BDS National Committee welcomes the publication of this timely and comprehensive report into military trade and relations between the UK and Israel.
This new report highlights the UK's deep and ongoing complicity with the Israeli military complex.
By exporting arms to Israel and working with Elbit Systems on the Watchkeeper program to develop new drones, the UK government is supporting Israel's system of apartheid and settler-colonialism over the Palestinian people and sending a message that its war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere will be tolerated.
One year on from Israel's deliberate massacre of more than 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza, which was surely carried out using weapons and components supplied by the UK, we wonder how many more Palestinians does Israel have to kill before the UK will stop arming Israel?
As the UK faces ever deepening public sector cuts, the British public will rightly ask why there is no money for basic public services to be maintained but there is money to pay Israeli military company Elbit Systems to develop drones for the UK military to use in future wars overseas.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee looks forward to working with War on Want, Campaign Against Arms Trade and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other people and organisations in the UK to build a strong movement for a UK military embargo on Israel.
War on Want is proud to have the BNC as a partner, and we extend our congratulations to them on the tenth anniversary of the historic BDS call from Palestinian civil society!Add Comment
25 June 2015, Latest news
Join War on Want and Movimento Jaguar Despierto as we bring together London, Mexican and South African activists on the 15 July 2015 to build a movement of resistance against the violence of neoliberalism. Book your free ticket here - seats are limited
In the last decade, vast numbers of people have taken to the streets in acts of dissent as they begin to feel more marginalised and oppressed by the global socio-economic and political framework.We see the violence of neoliberalism everyday: as states give way to global economic interests, favouring the interests of private capital over the public interests of ordinary people. Whilst all of this is happening, we are being asked by our governments to wait patiently for the benefits of this economic growth to trickle down to us. We are asked to be compliant, to be consensual. People have become tired of waiting, tired of being patient as inequality between the classes becomes more apparent and more vulgar. People are angry.
Join us for an evening of sharing of struggles and building a global movement of resistance
15 July 2015, 6:30pm at SOAS University
Book your free ticket here - seats are limited
24 June 2015, Latest news
by Tom Lebert, senior international programme officer (Resources & Conflict) at War on Want
There has been much talk of an African renaissance in recent years. Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's second post-apartheid president has spoken of a 'rebirth that must encompass all Africans'. So as African politicians and mining companies convene in London this week for 'Mining on Top' - Africa's annual mining summit - where are the voices of civil society? Their absence speaks volumes.Add Comment
23 June 2015, Press releases
As world's mining elite meet in London this week to discuss how best to exploit a continent's resources, the voices of ordinary Africans will not be heard.
Africa's annual mining summit - 'Mining on Top' - begins this week in London and the complete absence of civil society speaks volumes. On Thursday 25 June, War on Want will join London Mining Network and Gaia Foundation in protest at the failure of organisers to include civil society representatives at the summit.Add Comment
23 June 2015, Latest news
War on Want, together with the Housing Assembly, the Radical Housing Network, London Mexico Solidarity, London Black Revs, Defend the Right to Protest, Inter-Community Forum and the UK Labour Movement will be spending a week from the 11-16 July 2015, sharing their experiences with neoliberal violence and building a global movement of resistance.
15 June 2015, Latest news
Faeza Meyer and Josephine Abrahams, two women housing activists from the South African social movement, the Housing Assembly, will be traveling to the UK for a speaker tour hosted by War on Want. The tour, which runs from the 6-17 July 2015, has been put together to raise awareness and build global resistance against the violence of neoliberalism and its infringements on human rights including the right to shelter, housing and to dissent.
13 June 2015, Latest news
John Hilary reflects on an extraordinary few days on both sides of the Atlantic.
Campaigning works. This is the clear message from a rollercoaster week in the struggle over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the controversial trade deal being negotiated by the EU and US behind closed doors. People power has knocked TTIP backwards on both sides of the Atlantic, sending its proponents into a tail spin. For all those who have taken action as part of the NoTTIP campaign: we are winning and they are losing.Add Comment
09 June 2015, Press releases
The European Parliament has failed to pass a resolution in support of ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.
MEPs had been due to vote tomorrow, 10 June, but the vote was called off this afternoon, according to sources in the European Parliament.Add Comment
08 June 2015, Press releases
Responding to news that the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund has met its target of $30 million to compensate the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster where over 1100 workers died, Owen Espley, Sweatshops campaigner at War on Want said:Add Comment
08 June 2015, Press releases
For immediate release
Coalition calls on European Parliament to reject TTIP in upcoming vote
The European Citizens' Initiative 'Stop TTIP' has reached a record number of signatures on the eve of a critical vote in the European Parliament on whether to support the US trade deal.Add Comment
05 June 2015, Latest news
War on Want attended the G4S Annual General Meeting and demanded an end to the company’s complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation and the imprisonment and torture of Palestinians, including children.
A lively protest outside the meeting organised by the Stop G4S coalition highlighted the many types of abuses G4S is involved in, from providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison Service; equipping checkpoints along the illegal Apartheid Wall in the West Bank; and abuses in running detention centres and deportations in the UK.Add Comment
03 June 2015, Press releases
For Immediate release
War on Want is protesting tomorrow at the G4S AGM against G4S's continued complicity in human rights violations across the world.
In 2007, G4S - the largest security company in the world - signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Service to provide security systems and services to all of the major Israeli prisons and detention centres.Add Comment
28 May 2015, Press releases
The voice of the European people was ignored today when members of the European Parliament’s trade committee agreed a resolution backing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for the full parliament to vote on next month.
The vote flies in the face of European public opinion, with almost two million people signing a European Citizens’ Initiative opposing the secretive EU-US trade deal.Add Comment
22 May 2015, Latest news
BP has been taken to the High Court, in London, by a Colombian trade unionist after he was kidnapped and tortured by paramilitaries. Gilberto Torres is challenging the actions of BP, its successors and subsidiary companies. He is represented by London law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn, working with Colombian lawyer Francisco Ramirez. They are seeking compensation for negligence, conspiracy and false imprisonment.
Gilberto Torres was held captive in an insect-infested pit and had to witness another captive being dismembered by paramilitaries. The reason for his release is unclear, but it seems to be due to the threat of a national strike backed by international solidarity. On Gilberto’s release, the police advised him to flee Colombia with his wife and son. He still lives in exile because it is not safe to return. Their lives have been ruined. Gilberto had been campaigning on labour and environmental issues in the oil-rich Casanare area exploited by BP from the 1990s, and then passed on to companies connected to BP until they pulled out in 2011.
The Guardian produced a documentary showing Gilberto's plight and the impact of BP operations in Colombia.
BP had admitted paying millions of dollars to the Colombian army to patrol its installations. However, it is refusing to publish relevant documents related to Gilberto’s case. Countless other community activists, environmentalists and trade union members who have opposed resource extraction multinationals have been murdered or disappeared in the past 25 years since oil exploration started.Add Comment
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