Declassified UK’s John McEvoy: Trade secretary Kemi Badenoch kept arming Israel throughout its brutal onslaught on Gaza, new data reveals.

UK Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, is responsible for approving arms export licences

Kemi Badenoch has not stopped any arms deals with Israel since October 7, instead allowing British companies to export components for military aircraft.

The revelation comes in new data released on an “ad hoc” basis by Britain’s trade department in response to “significant parliamentary and public interest” and “exceptional circumstances”.

The data shows Rishi Sunak’s government approved 42 military export licences to Israel between 7 October and 31 May, while no licences for military goods were refused or cancelled.

A further 66 licences were for items classed as “non-military”. These include “telecommunications equipment, chemical manufacturing equipment, and imaging cameras” which could be used by Israel’s military.

The UK government’s decision to greenlight more than 100 such export deals with Israel over the last eight months could open up British ministers to international arrest applications over complicity in war crimes.

Emily Apple from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) told Declassified: “These figures show that it’s business as usual for arms dealers to break international law and continue arming Israel’s genocide.

“The Conservative government and the UK arms trade are complicit in the horrendous war crimes that Israel is committing against Palestinian people in Gaza.

“Despite overwhelming evidence of the atrocities Israel is perpetrating, this data release shows that the government has not refused or revoked a single licence”.

Out in the Open

Out of the 42 new military licences, 37 are classed as “standard” and five are considered “open”.

Standard licences permit the export of a stated quantity of specified items and generally have a validity of two years.

Open licences allow for unlimited deliveries of specified items and typically have a validity of five years.

They include “components for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, training small arms ammunition, submarine components and components for body armour”.

The Israeli air force uses three main types of fixed-wing aircraft: the F-35, F-16 and F-15.

At least 79 of the companies in the F-35 supply chain are located in the UK, with British arms firms producing around 15 percent of the value of each of the jets.

UK companies are likely also supplying components for Israel’s F-16 jets, which bombed a health facility housing British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians in January.

The helicopter components may refer to Israel’s fleet of US-made Apaches.

In 2009, UK foreign secretary David Miliband admitted that Israeli Apaches deployed on Operation Cast Lead “almost certainly” contained British components such as the fire control and radar system, navigation equipment and engine assemblies.

More Deals to Come

The new figures further show that Britain had 345 active arms export licences with Israel as of 31 May, most of which were approved before 7 October.

These licences cover “components for military aircraft, components for military vehicles, and components for combat naval vessels”, as well as non-military equipment such as “technology for spacecraft”.

A further 155 standard and 27 open licences to Israel are categorised as “in-progress”.

The data does not offer any information on the value of the arms transfers, or the specific items that have been licenced for export.

Britain has approved arms sales to Israel worth more than half a billion pounds since 2008, according to CAAT.

The group’s spokesperson Emily Apple added: “There is an alarming lack of transparency and accountability in the figures. This data release was supposed to address the political and public interest in arms sales to Israel.

“The figures released do not do this as they do not give any details of the equipment exported or its value”.

Source: Declassified UK

14 Jun 2024 by John McEvoy

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