Nick Clegg calls for suspension of military export licenses for Israel

Yesterday Nick Clegg said,

It’s obvious to me that however much Israel has every right to defend itself from those rocket attacks from Hamas, nonetheless the Israeli military operation overstepped the mark in Gaza. This outrageous spectacle of these three UN schools being hit by Israeli military action. That’s why I believe that the export licences should now be suspended. I’m working with Vince Cable on this. It is his department that administers these export licences and he and I both believe the actions of the Israeli military, overstepping the mark in Gaza, breach the conditions of those export licenses and that’s why we want to see them suspended pending a wider review of whether they should be revoked more permanently in the long run.

The reference to conditions on the export licenses being breached hasn’t been followed up in public with further details but looks to be a reference to Criteria 2 (“respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country for international humanitarian law”), 3 (“the internal situation in the country of final destination, as a function of the existence of tensions or armed conflicts”) and/or 4 (“preservation of regional peace, security and stability”) in the Consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria.

On the basis of what those criteria say and the current situation in Gaza, suspending the export licenses seems the right move.

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