UK’s top court to review government decision allowing arms exports to Israel

Britain’s High Court agrees to hear a legal challenge later this year over continued UK arms exports to Israel during its war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

A coalition of legal advocacy groups wants the court to scrutinize the UK government’s decision to keep selling military parts and arms to Israel, despite claims that it is unlawful because they are allegedly used in war crimes.

Britain’s strategic licensing criteria state that weapons should not be exported when there is a clear risk they could be used in violations of international humanitarian law.

The UK government department for business and trade, which authorizes the sales on the advice of the foreign office, is fighting the legal challenge.

At a court hearing, Judge Jonathan Swift schedules the case for a full hearing in October after various provisional legal matters are resolved over the coming months.

In February, the court had rejected a petition to fast-track the case, which was opposed by government lawyers.

Dearbhla Minogue, senior lawyer at the Global Legal Action Network, which is involved in the case, accused ministers of making the process “as painstakingly slow as possible.”

“Given the urgency of the situation in Gaza, the government should listen to the international legal consensus and halt weapons sales now,” she says.

Britain supplied 42 million pounds ($53 million) of arms to Israel in 2022.

Earlier this month, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the UK government’s assessment of Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza determined that London can continue exporting arms to Israel.

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