ISRAEL ARMS TRADE

The SNP strongly condemns all forms of violence and supports the European Union position of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. We firmly encourage Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable, negotiated settlement under international law, based on mutual recognition and the determination to coexist peacefully.

The SNP have engaged directly with both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to encourage a two state solution, and the SNP will continue to pressure the UK Government to exert its influence in the region and do more to bring a lasting peace.

My SNP colleague Peter Grant MP noted in a debate in the Chamber that, between 2016 and 2018, UK arms sales licenses to Israel increased by 1,100%. This was during a period when Palestinian children and medics were targeted in acts of unlawful killing which were internationally condemned. The United Kingdom should not be selling weapons to any state under investigation for such crimes.

This is part of a wider trend – since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the number of arms export licenses issued to countries on the FCO’s human rights watch list has doubled. Last year, one-third of UK arms sales were to countries which are on this country’s Foreign Office human rights “priority countries” list. The immorality is particularly glaring when we consider the case of the UK’s multi-billion pound arms trade with Saudi Arabia, a country which is responsible for inflicting mass civilian casualties in Yemen.

This Conservative Government cannot continue to plead ignorance as it continues to sell arms to governments which have repeatedly and flagrantly violated international human rights law. This country must never act as an enabler for such abuses and the SNP will continue to press the UK government to end the arms trade with Israel as long as there are documented reports of violations of international humanitarian law.

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