UK government to block arms exports to Israel if military action resumes

Palestinian children climb out of a large crater created by a missile strike in Rafah on the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Ibrahim Khatib/Demotix/Corbis

Announcement comes after lengthy dispute between leading Tories and Liberal Democrats over restriction of arms sales

The British government will suspend some of its arms exports to Israel if hostilities resume in Gaza due to concerns that the British-made products could be used by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The business department said a review of UK exports to Israel had identified the 12 licences for “components which could be part of equipment used by the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza”. They include equipment for military radar, combat aircraft and tanks.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: “We welcome the current ceasefire in Gaza and hope that it will lead to a peaceful resolution. However, the UK government has not been able to clarify if the export licence criteria are being met. In light of that uncertainty we have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licences in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.

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