Greens claim ‘UK is complicit in the murder of innocent civilians in the Middle East’ as Israeli arms figures revealed

Green MEP, Keith Taylor, has slammed the UK Government’s foreign policy hypocrisy and complicity in the deaths of innocent civilians in the Middle East, as figures reveal the value of arms sales to Israel more than doubled last year after £86m in sales in 2016.

The Department for International Trade figures, compiled by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), shows UK arms sales to Israel have topped £320m following the 2014 Gaza war.

Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Palestine Delegation, has recently criticised the UK’s “gesture bombing” campaign and lack of “wider strategy” in Syria and flagged the inconsistency between the Government’s claims about ‘protecting innocent lives’ while it continues to sell arms to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Regimes that are feared to be using the weapons to kill innocent civilians in Palestine and Yemen, respectively.

The senior Green MEP said:

“In racing to fall in line with Trump and have the US President’s Foreign Policy agenda dictate our own, the UK Government bypassed Parliamentary scrutiny to join the war in Syria.”

“The claim was that a round of ‘gesture bombing,’ timed to avoid national and international scrutiny and approval, would help protect innocent lives. However, the most likely outcome was always that more innocent lives would be endangered by a knee-jerk intervention, devoid of any wider strategy.”

“Not only that, the desire to protect innocent lives against war crimes and human rights abuses in the Middle East appears to be inconsistent with the Conservative Government’s other policies in the region.”

“Innocent lives are being lost in huge numbers in Yemen, victims of Saudi Arabia war crimes. However, Ministers continue to proudly sell arms to the perpetrators and give Saudi dignitaries the full red-carpet treatment.”

“And despite the plight of unarmed Palestinian citizens being killed by Israeli state security forces, the UK has seen fit to continue supplying Israel with weapons while keeping compliantly silent on the issue. The UK has even gone so far as to block a UN resolution condemning the senseless murder of protesters.”

Responding to the latest figures, Mr Taylor added:

“It is shocking that the UK continues to put profit above the lives and liberty of Palestinian people living under an oppressive, brutal, and, above all, illegal occupation by the Israeli state. Ministers’ consciences should be stained with the blood of scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters murdered since March, it is feared, by UK-manufactured weapons.”

“Despite the Israeli Government showing nothing but contempt for the people of Gaza, and Palestinians in general, the UK has seen fit to more than double the amount of weapons it has supplied the state to aide the continued abuse and denial of the fundamental human rights of innocent civilians.”

“It is a stark reminder that, for all the claims about rushing to war in Syria, it is hard to believe that protecting innocent lives is the motivating factor behind the Conservatives’ desperation to fall in line with Trump’s foreign policy agenda.”