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New parliamentary motion urges UK government to suspend Israel arms sales

Stop Arming Israel week of action - HSBC, in the UK on 1 July, 2017
Activists come together calling for the UK to stop arming Israel on 1 July 2017 [File photo]

A new parliamentary motion urges the UK government to suspend arms sales to Israel, a move that comes in the aftermath of a massacre of Palestinian demonstrators by the Israeli army.

The Early Day Motion, sponsored by a number of MPs including Labour's Richard Burden, "notes with concern that UK licences have been granted in the past two years for the export to Israel of categories of arms and arms components".

Those arms and components include "sniper and assault rifles, pistols, weapon sights, targeting equipment, ammunition for small arms and grenades, smoke canisters, tanks, combat and military helicopters, military support and combat aircraft, and civil riot control protection equipment."

The motion expresses concern that government ministers "have stated they do not collect data on the use of such equipment after sale".

The MPs note that "criteria two and four of the consolidated criteria on arms exports precludes licensing where there is a risk that items must be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law and considering the need not to affect adversely regional stability in any significant way and in the light of the extensive use of live fire by Israeli forces against Palestinians in Gaza."

Read: Calls for UK to ensure arms supplies to Israel are used lawfully

The motion concludes by calling "for a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel unless it can be demonstrated that weapons and components imported from the UK are used solely in accordance with the consolidated criteria."

UK charity War on Want is among those urging support for the Early Day Motion.

"The UK Government is directly complicit in Israel's violence against Palestinians," the charity said, and "knows that these weapons are being used for this brutal violence and for grave breaches of international law, and yet it allows this arms trade to continue."

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