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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

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September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2009)

hocReport published on 19 August 2009



127. We have focussed particularly this year on arms exports to Israel, an issue on which we have previously commented. In parallel, the Foreign Affairs Committee has reported on these issues in its Report into Global Security: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.191 We will not repeat the full discussion of the evidence in that Report on the merits of imposing an arms embargo on Israel. Instead, we focus particularly on the more technical issues relating to whether or not components supplied under licence from the UK (particularly incorporated in products assembled in a third intermediary country) were used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead which began on 27 December 2008. The Foreign Secretary made a Written Ministerial Statement on 21 April which stated the Government’s understanding of the situation.192

128. We have previously commented on the Government’s decision in 2002 to authorise the export to the USA of components for incorporation into aircraft for onward export to Israel, when it would not authorise the export of the relevant components or aircraft to Israel directly.193 Under the 2002 decision, the UK has supplied components to the US for incorporation into F-16 fighter aircraft and Apache attack helicopters. We questioned Ian Pearson on this subject in January and he later wrote, clarifying the Government’s position:

At the evidence session I stated, on the basis of advice that I had received, that no export licences for F-16 Head-Up Display (HUD) equipment to Israel had been granted since 2002.
While this is correct, I would like to clarify that this refers to licences for the export of F-16 HUD components direct (underlined) to Israel, for use in Israel. Since that date there have been a small number of licences granted for these goods where, although not going direct to Israel, we were aware that Israel was the ultimate end-user.194

In his 21 April statement, the Foreign Secretary stated that the F-16s and Apache helicopters used by Israeli forces during Operation Cast Lead “almost certainly” contained British-supplied components incorporated in this way.195 The Foreign Secretary also identified that Saar 4.5 naval vessels and armoured personnel carriers “almost certainly” included British-supplied components. The UK authorised the export direct to Israel of gun components for the former. The latter included converted British Centurion tanks sold to Israel in the late 1950s.196 The UK has also supplied “minor components” for reconnaissance satellites which “might” have been used to prepare operation Cast Lead, but which “would not have played a significant part in the operation itself.”197

129. Bill Rammell told us in April that the Government had not authorised any exports relating to F-16s, helicopters or armoured personnel carriers for Israel, including for incorporation in a third country, since the conflict in Lebanon in 2006 and that “all of these export decisions were in accordance with the criteria on that information that we had available at the time.”198 In a memorandum to the Committee, the FCO outlined instances where licences were refused for the supply of components for F16s for use by the Israeli Air Force on the basis of Criteria 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the consolidated criteria.199 Ian Pearson told us that “Israel regularly features in three destinations with the highest number of refusals”,200 and that the Government continues “to assess such applications on a case-by-case basis”.201

130. The UK Working Group on Arms highlighted to us the issue of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically Hermes 450 UAVs which were used during Operation Cast Lead.202 Hermes 450s are manufactured by Elbit systems in Israel and at least some engines are provided by Lichfield-based UAV Engines (UEL). Elbit has stated that Hermes 450s containing British engines are manufactured in Israel exclusively for export and are not used by the IDF.203 The Government has said similarly that British export licences have only been issued for the engines to be incorporated in Israel and then exported.204 The Foreign Secretary told the House in his 21 April statement that the FCO had “no evidence that goods licensed by the UK [for UAVs] were diverted within Israel for use by the IDF.”205 However the UK Working Group on Arms state that it “can find no other publicly available source to suggest that alternative engines are fitted into Hermes 450 UAVs operated by the IDF”.206 Oliver Sprague of Amnesty International told us that in 1997 and 1999 “technology transfers for know-how and related technology for their engine designs” were made and highlighted that “they could be manufactured in other countries which would obviously raise concerns around licensed production issues or technology transfer issues”.207

Reviewing licences for exports to Israel

131. The Government is reviewing all extant export licences to Israel, to see if any need to be reconsidered in the light of the conflict in Gaza. Bill Rammell told us that licences would be revoked if necessary.208 It has been widely reported that the Government has revoked licences to export naval gun components to Israel but at the time of finalising our Report we had not received confirmation from the Government of this.209 The Foreign Secretary also told the House that the Government would take the conflict in Gaza into account in assessing all future licence applications.210

132. We conclude that it is regrettable that components supplied by the UK were almost certainly used in a variety of ways by Israeli forces during the recent conflict in Gaza and that the Government should continue to do everything possible to ensure that this does not happen in future. We conclude that the Government is correct to assess the granting of licences for export on a case-by-case basis and we endorse decisions not to grant a number of licences in relation to Israel. This includes the refusal of licences to supply a variety of components for end-use by Israel since the war in Lebanon in 2006.
We further conclude that the Government’s review of extant licences relating to Israel is to be welcomed, as is its stated intention of assessing the need to revoke any which should be reconsidered in light of the Gaza conflict. We recommend that the Government keep us informed of the progress of the review, of whether or not the Government chooses to revoke any licences and whether the Government believes that its eventual position has implications for the UK’s defence relationships with either the USA or Israel itself, or for the operational capabilities of the UK’s armed forces.


191 Foreign Affairs Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2008–09, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, HC 261
192 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS
193 Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees, First Joint Report of
Session 2001-02, Strategic Export Controls: Annual Report for 2000, Licensing Policy and Prior Parliamentary Scrutiny,
HC 718, paras 136-147; Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees,
Second Joint Report of Session 2002-03, Strategic Export Controls, Annual Report for 2001, Licensing Policy and
Parliamentary Scrutiny, HC 474, paras 130–154
194 Ev 64
195 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS
196 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS
197 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS
198 Qq 122, 126
199 Ev 108
200 Q 6; see also Q 139
201 Q 13; see also Q132–141
202 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS
203 Ev 78; Amnesty International, “Fuelling conflict: Foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza”, 23 February 2009, pp 30-31
204 Q 19
205 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS
206 Ev 78; see also Q 64
207 Q 64
208 Qq 123–124
209 “UK cuts Israel weapons contracts”, BBC news online, 13 July 2009,
210 HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS

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