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Britain reviews 8 bn-pound arms sales to Israel

Posted on Aug 04 2014 | IANS

London, Aug 4 : In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, the British government is reviewing the 8 billion pounds-worth sale of arms and military goods to Israel to see if each licence is appropriate, the prime minister office said here Monday.

The contracts "mostly for cryptographic software and military communications, but also weapon parts" will be individually examined to ensure that they are not being used for internal repression or the provocation of conflict.

Downing Street confirmed it was conducting the review after British Prime Minister David Cameron said the UN was right to condemn the shelling of schools as a "moral outrage".

"We are currently reviewing all export licences to Israel to confirm that we think they are appropriate," the prime minister's deputy official spokesman said.

Cameron, however, stopped short of opposition leader Ed Miliband's outright opposition to Israel's incursion into Gaza, and made it clear that the British government blamed Hamas for provoking the conflict.

Campaigners are most worried about 42 million pounds of arms export licences granted to 130 British companies, including two supplying components for the Hermes drone, widely used during Operation Protective Edge, the ongoing Israeli military action in Gaza, and one selling components for Israel's main battle tank.

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