Sunday Aug 17, 201411:02 AM GMT
UK government faces lawsuit over arms sales to Israel

The British government is facing unprecedented legal action over its continued arms sale to Israel in the wake of the recent deadly Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip.

British law firm, Leigh Day, representing the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said Saturday that it has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable, calling for the immediate suspension of arms export licenses to Israel.

The law firm said the UK government’s failure to suspend the licenses is illegal, adding that it has been instructed to seek a High Court judicial review of the administration’s reluctance to halt the arms sales to Israel.

A recent report by the British parliamentary committee for arms export controls showed that Israel received around £8 billion in the form of 400 arms licenses from the UK in 2013.

Leigh Day further said there is a risk that British-made weapons may have been used by Israel during its recent onslaught on Gaza in breach of humanitarian and human rights law.

“If arms from the UK are being used to commit crimes against humanitarian law, and human rights law, then export licenses for these materials must be revoked immediately,” said Rosa Curling, representing the CAAT, adding, “If this is not done, the government’s current policy is unlawful and susceptible to legal challenge.”

The British government has come under persistent pressure to toughen its stance against Israel, including by halting arms exports, since Tel Aviv began its onslaught on the besieged Palestinian enclave more than a month ago.

Nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including 470 children, have lost their lives and more than 10,200 have been wounded since the Israeli military unleashed fatal assaults against Gaza on July 8.

Human rights groups say Israeli forces are systematically killing Palestinian children and youths.

CAH/HJL/SS

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