UK Will Keep Selling Arms To Israel, David Cameron Says

The foreign secretary said it was still legal to export weapons despite "grave concerns" about the amount of aid getting into Gaza.
A girl walks past the rubble of a collapsed building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
A girl walks past the rubble of a collapsed building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
- via Getty Images

The UK will continue selling arms to Israel despite “grave concerns” about the lack of aid getting in to Gaza, David Cameron has declared.

The foreign secretary said the latest advice he had received was that it remains legal to export weapons to the country.

Calls have been mounting for the government to cancel arms export licences to Israel amid claims its bombardment of Gaza is breaking international humanitarian law.

But speaking at a press conference in Washington, Lord Cameron said: “I have now reviewed the most recent advice about the situation in Gaza and Israel’s conduct of their military campaign.

“The latest assessment leaves our position on export licences unchanged. This is consistent with the advice that I and other ministers have received, and as ever we will keep the position under review.

“Let me be clear though, we continue to have grave concerns around the humanitarian access issue in Gaza, both for the period that was assessed and subsequently.”

The foreign secretary also said that Israeli promises to “flood Gaza with aid must now be turned into reality”.

He added: “Our position is in line with our international partners. So far, no like-minded countries have taken the decision to suspend existing arms export licences to Israel, and I’d add that Israel remains a vital defence and security partner to the UK.”

Lord Cameron also rejected calls from Labour for the government to publish the legal advice it has received on Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden said on Sunday that the government was willing to block arms sales to Israel if it was found to be breaking international law.

He said: “We will of course act in accordance with our obligations in respect of arms sales, and the way that that works is there’s legal advicem, the foreign secretary reaches a judgment and he gives that advice to the business secretary.

“If it is the case that we can’t lawfully do so then of course we won’t supply those arms.

“We rightly hold ourselves to a high standard and we rightly hold the countries to whom we export arms to a high standard and that’s what you’d accept.”


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