This time, if Jerusalem does not give in to the demands of Hamas, Britain will cancel 12 export licenses for components for radar systems, combat aircraft and tanks, British media report.
British Business Secretary Vince Cable explained in a statement late Tuesday, “We welcome the current cease-fire 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.”
Cable, a Liberal Democratic minister, did not say whether the announcement came as the result of discussions with Conservatives who were pushing for an arms embargo regardless.
According to a report in the British-based Daily Mail newspaper, a review of the licenses to be revoked showed they were not for items being used by IDF forces currently in Gaza in any case, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) said.
But Israel is still apparently to be punished for the intractable behavior of Hamas.
“What is clear now is that we [the government coalition] have agreement that if the current cease-fire ends in Gaza, which we all hope it doesn’t, and there was a resumption of significant hostilities, then there would be an immediate suspension of those arms export licences to Israel that give cause for concern.”
What is not included in the embargo is the license granted for the export of cryptographic equipment, or for any components that form part of the Iron Dome system that protects Israeli civilians from the missile attacks fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
The military deals set to be affected are worth less than $17 million. Years ago, Israel realized that the UK is a fickle and unreliable arms supplier, so the IDF only buys minor parts from the UK that it can easily acquire elsewhere if needed.
What won’t be affected are Britain’s military purchases from Israel, including an Elbit drone system that the British army needs.
Meanwhile, it is not at all clear whether a cease-fire will be reached by the Wednesday deadline.
A source on the Palestinian Arab side told the A-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic-language daily newspaper there is still a wide gap on the issues of returning the remains of Israeli soldiers in exchange for a Gaza seaport and airport and creating a land bridge between the enclave and the regions of Judea and Samaria. “There is slow progress, but no big breakthrough,” the source told the paper.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Hamas announced in more blunt terms, “This is the last cease-fire.”Hana Levi Julian