update deskIsrael at War

British lawmakers call to halt arms sales to Israel

More than 130 MPs and peers signed a letter urging an embargo.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London. Credit: Freepik.
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London. Credit: Freepik.

The United Kingdom could be closer to following Canada’s decision last week to halt arms exports to Israel over the war in Gaza after more than 130 parliamentarians signed a letter urging London to cut off weapons sales.

Coming on the heels of Monday’s passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a freeze in fighting during Ramadan, which ends on April 9, the letter was addressed to Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

British defense exports to Israel totaled £42 million ($53 million) in 2022, according to Defense Secretary Grant Shapps.

MP Zarah Sultana, a far-left member of the Labour Party of Pakistani Muslim ancestry, coordinated the letter, which was signed by 107 MPs and 27 peers.

“With the Israeli government now seemingly disregarding the U.N. Security Council’s ceasefire resolution, it is again violating international law and making the case for an end to arms sales impossible to ignore,” Sultana said, as quoted by the Guardian.

“The U.K. government must finally uphold the rights of the Palestinian people, heed this call from 130 cross-party parliamentarians, and immediately end arms sales to Israel,” she continued.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on March 19 expressed his displeasure with Canada’s government over its announcement the previous day that it would halt arms sales to Israel.

“It’s regrettable that the Canadian government is taking a step that undermines Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas terrorists, who have committed terrible crimes against humanity and against innocent Israeli civilians, including the elderly, women, and children,” tweeted Katz.

“History will judge Canada’s current action harshly. Israel will continue to fight until Hamas is destroyed and all hostages are returned home,” he added.

Canadian arms exports to Israel amounted to more than $15.4 million in 2022, according to Canadian government data. (The largest non-U.S. export destination that year was Saudi Arabia, which received about $1.15 billion in military exports, or about 54% of the total value of all non-U.S. Canadian military exports.)

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