SALEM (AFP/Reuters) - Britain has revoked five Israeli arms export licences over the Gaza war, refusing
to supply replacement parts to navy gunships used in the offensive, officials and reports said on Monday.
The Foreign Office told the Israeli embassy in London last week that following a decision by parliament, Great
Britain will stop the sale of certain arms to Israel, a senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The move came after the British government reviewed all 182 licences for arms exports to Israel and ultimately
decided to cancel five, which cover spare parts for Saar missile boats, said the Haaretz daily.
By participating in the Gaza war, the boats violated the security agreements between Britain and Israel, which
specify what uses may be made of British equipment, Haaretz quoted the British directive as saying.
The British embassy in Israel said in a statement that there is no partial arms embargo on Israel as such a
move would not improve the current situation in the Middle East.
We do not grant export licences where there is a clear risk that arms will be used for external aggression or
internal repression, it said. A senior embassy official said on condition of anonymity that British authorities were
checking whether certain arms exports were in line with legislation that prevents their use against civilians.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman brushed off the sanctions, telling public radio: Weve had many
embargoes in the past... We can manage. This shouldnt bother us.
Meanwhile, the British embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed the revocation of a small number of export licenses but
said this did not constitute an embargo on Israel. There are no security agreements between the UK and Israel,
an embassy spokeswoman said. UK policy remains to assess all export licences to Israel against the
consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria.
She noted that Britain had also revoked some export licenses to Russia and Georgia following their border war
last year. Israel has weathered international censure over the civilian toll of the Gaza war, arguing that
Palestinians provoked the violence by firing rockets across the border. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the 22
days of fighting.. Israels Defence Ministry had no immediate comment on the British decision. Interviewed on
Israel Radio, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman brushed it off.
Israel has known many cases of embargo in the past, he said. We always knew how to get by, and there is no
need to get excited about this.
British exports of sensitive products that are for military use or that can have both civilian or military applications
need a licence. Britain says it will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk of exports being used either for
internal repression or for external aggression.