JERUSALEM (AFP) – Britain has imposed a partial arms embargo on Israel over the Gaza war, refusing to supply replacement parts for navy gunships used in the offensive, a newspaper reported.
“Britain’s Foreign Office informed Israel’s embassy in London of the sanctions a few days ago,” the Haaretz newspaper said, adding that the embassy attributed the move to pressure from human rights groups and MPs.
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 4.5 missile boats, Haaretz said.
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.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman brushed off the sanctions, telling public radio: “We’ve had many embargoes in the past… We can manage. This shouldn’t bother us.”
Israel launched its devastating three-week war on Gaza in December. More than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.