Alwaght-The British government’s decision to lift restrictions on weapons sales to the Israeli regime put in place during last summer’s Gaza agression has drawn the ire of human rights activists.
Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said on Friday the move sends the message that the Israeli regime can continue using British arms against innocent Palestinians and the UK government will turn a blind eye.
The British Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) defended the move, however, claiming a year-long review of arms licenses to the Israeli regime had left it satisfied the contracts meet the UK’s export criteria.
The announcement comes after a report published in early July revealed the British government approved £4mn worth of arms to the Israeli regime in the immediate months following the start of the regime’s brutal aggression on Gaza.
Andrew Smith of CAAT expressed disbelief at the government’s decision to lift restrictions on arms exports to Israel.
“This report is extremely weak. It sends the message that Israel can continue using UK arms against the people of Gaza and the government will do nothing to stop it,” he told RT.
“The bombardment last summer killed over 2000 people and created a humanitarian catastrophe. If that wasn't enough to change the government's mind then what would it take?"
In May, British Jews have condemned the “UK’s complicity in Israeli war crimes” against Palestinians by selling arms to Tel Aviv at a time of war on a struggling Gaza.
“We deplore the UK’s complicity in Israeli war crimes, most recently the massacres and destruction of homes and livelihoods in Gaza last summer,” the group wrote in a letter published on the blog Mondoweiss.
Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in Israel’s 50-day onslaught and over 11,100 others, including nearly 3,380 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were injured. Tens of Israelis were also killed during the war.
In June, a United Nations report mainly accused the Israeli regime of possible war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Conducted by an independent Commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, the inquiry found that “serious violations of international humanitarian law” had occurred during the conflict that “may amount to war crimes.”