'UK to sell arms to Israel, despite concerns for human rights'

British MPs say gov't approved export licenses for arms to 27 countries with poor human rights records, The Guardian reports.

An Israeli soldier arranges ammunition atop a tank 370 (photo credit: REUTER/Baz Ratner)
An Israeli soldier arranges ammunition atop a tank 370
(photo credit: REUTER/Baz Ratner)
Israel was slated to receive the majority of sales from British arms deals with countries viewed by the UK as having poor human rights conditions, British daily The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
The UK has approved more than 3,000 export licenses for weapons and military equipment to 27 countries "of concern" as classified by the British Foreign Office due to their poor human rights records, according to a report by a group of cross-party MPs cited by the Guardian.
The Guardian also listed Saudi Arabia, China and Zimbabwe as countries approved to receive significant portions of sales valued at more than £12 billion.
According to the report, the UK approved about 400 export licenses for "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories", for equipment worth about £8 billion including communications equipment, materials for personal armor, components for "all-wheel drive vehicles with ballistic protection" and an assortment of fire arms, ammunition and support vehicles. 
The chairman of the House of Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls, minister Sir John Stanley, expressed concern over the scale of approved export licenses to the "FCO's 27 countries of human rights concern" saying it "puts into stark relief the inherent conflict between the government's arms exports and human rights policies."
"The government should apply significantly more cautious judgments when considering arms export license applications for goods to authoritarian regimes‚ which might be used to facilitate internal repression‚ in contravention of the government's stated policy," the Guardian quoted Stanley as saying.
The committee MPs who revealed the decision stated that British government "will not issue licenses where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression".