'Review arms sales to Israel'

British parliamentary c'tee: Use of UK equipment during Cast Lead regrettable.

london big ben parliament 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
london big ben parliament 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
A British parliamentary committee on Saturday questioned whether arms exports are approved to easily, the Guardian reported, citing Israel’s use of British equipments and weaponry during last year's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF’s operation in Gaza has been under intense international scrutiny and criticism. A UN report prepared by South African jurist Richard Goldstone has accused both Israel and Hamas of possible war crimes.
"It is regrettable that arms exports to Israel were almost certainly used in Operation Cast Lead,” the House of Commons committee on strategic export controls said. "This is in direct contravention to the UK government's policy that UK arms exports to Israel should not be used in the occupied territories."
Following the operation, the UK revoked five arms export licenses given to British companies for the sale of military equipment to Israel. The use of the weapons in Gaza, it said, constituted a “contravention” of the conditions of the sale. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the Gaza conflict would be taken into account in all future sales considerations. The MPs welcomed this, but also called for measures to ensure that such uses do not recur.
Among the equipment under question are components in fighter jet cockpit displays and helicopters, armored personnel carriers and gun parts.
Relations between Israel and the UK have been strained recently,following allegations that Israel forged UK passports to carry out thekilling of a Hamas commander in Dubai. Last week, Britain expelled oneof Israel’s diplomats - rumored to be the Mossad'srepresentative in London - from its territory.
Miliband told Parliament that after investigating the alleged use of 12counterfeit British passports in the January 19 killing of Mahmoudal-Mabhouh in Dubai, “we have concluded that there are compellingreasons to believe that Israel was responsible for the misuse of theBritish passports.”
“The government takes this matter extremely seriously. Such misuse of British passports is intolerable,” he said.