Nick Clegg calls for suspension of licences for arms exports to Israel

August 5, 2014 9:01 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

In response to Baroness Warsi's resignation as foreign office minister, Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for arms exports to Israel to be suspended.

Nick said:

"I think the question marks that Sayeeda Warsi has raised about the arms export licences which we issue to arms exporters selling to Israel are very serious ones and I share her concerns.

"It's obvious to me that however much Israel has every right to defend itself from those rocket attacks from Hamas, nonetheless the Israeli military operation overstepped the mark in Gaza. This outrageous spectacle of these three UN schools being hit by Israeli military action. That's why I believe that the export licences should now be suspended. I'm working with Vince Cable on this. It is his department that administers these export licences and he and I both believe the actions of the Israeli military, overstepping the mark in Gaza, breach the conditions of those export licenses and that's why we want to see them suspended pending a wider review of whether they should be revoked more permanently in the long run.

"I believe we will be able to make an announcement on this, finally, very shortly. It's taken a little bit longer than I'd like to have this agreed across government but I think it's very important that in response to clearly what appears to be disproportionate military action of Israel in Gaza, we should be suspending the arms export licenses that presently exist."

Vince Cable added:

"Both Nick Clegg and I agree that we should suspend export licences for military equipment that might be used by Israel in Gaza. We have been making this case inside Government but have not yet been able to get agreement for this position. I hope and expect that to change shortly."