I remain concerned about security in Israel and our friendship with Israel does not prohibit our criticism of some Israeli policies, nor our recognition of Israel as a thriving democracy. The UK supports Israel’s right to defend itself and will work alongside anyone in the Middle East who seeks to establish better stability and security for their people.
I know the Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available.
Licence decisions take account of prevailing circumstances at the time of application and include human rights and international humanitarian law considerations. I understand the Government will not issue export licences where there is a clear risk that the arms might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
The UK’s support for Israel’s right to self-defence does not extend to support for the annexation plans for part of the West Bank. I strongly welcome the shelving of these annexation plans as part of the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE.
Furthermore, I welcome the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as an opportunity to demonstrate the UK’s commitment both to the security of Israel and the Middle East peace process.