Thank you to all those who contacted me about the United Kingdom’s arms trade with Israel.
The escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied West Bank is deeply concerning; this cycle of violence must end. There will not be a just and lasting peace until both Israelis and Palestinians enjoy security, dignity and human rights. I steadfastly support a negotiated, diplomatic settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states: a safe and secure Israel, alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.
On the specific issue of UK arms trade with Israel, in response to questions on this issue, the Government has said it continues to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely and keeps relevant licences under review. It says it will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria. It says it does not believe that imposing a blanket arms embargo would lead to progress in the peace process. This is an issue the Shadow Foreign Office team will continue to monitor closely.
On arms exports more widely, the Government says it takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and that it operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. However, I am concerned that it has brought in changes to export controls that charities such as Oxfam have warned will lessen transparency and could see UK arms being used in breaches of human rights. I believe the Government must take steps to ensure UK arms exports are not used in violation of human rights law.