Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, Department of Trade and Industry and Ministry
of Defence on export licensing policy towards Israel
OF 18 DECEMBER
22 January 2001
1. The details of licences requested by
the Committees are contained in the attached Annex
which is sent to the Committees in confidence.
2. This Government has paid close attention
to applications to export military equipment to Israel and other
countries in the Middle East, in view of the security situation
in the region. Since July 1997 the Government's policy on export
licence applications has been to scrutinise each application against
the export licensing criteria, on a case by case basis and in
light of information available at the time. In the case of Israel
we have paid particularly close attention to the criteria concerning
internal repression, internal conflict, international aggression
and regional stability. We have kept the situation in the Occupied
Territories and southern Lebanon under close scrutiny. We have
also borne in mind the legitimate defence and domestic security
interests that Israel, and other countries in the region, have.
When we have been satisfied that a particular application met
the export licensing criteria, we have issued a licence. When
this has not been the case, we have refused applications, as recorded
in the Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls.
3. The Committees will have noted from the
Annual Reports that Israel is not a large defence sales market
for the UK. The value of defence exports to Israel has been well
below £1 million in each of the last three years for which
we have records (1997-99). Most of the exports which this Government
has licensed have been components or technology.
4. Since the outbreak of the violence in
the Occupied Territories in late September 2000 we have paid especially
close attention to export licence applications for Israel. We
have not issued any licences since then for equipment or components
for equipment which may have been used in the recent conflict
in the Occupied Territories. We continue to keep this situation
under close review. We have always judged whether equipment on
applications would be used aggressively by Israel in Southern
Lebanon and would refuse applications where this was the case.
5. We are satisfied that these controls
on exports to Israel have been strict. We have not, however, placed
specific limitations or end-use conditions on licences for exports
to Israel. If we had judged at the licensing stage that there
was a clear risk that a proposed export would be misused in contravention
of the criteria, we would not have issued a licence for that transaction.
6. The extent of the violence and the methods
used by the Israelis to combat it were unexpected. We therefore
raised the matter with the Israeli Government who have given us
an assurance that no UK-originated equipment, systems, sub-systems
or components are used as part of the Israeli Defence Forces'
activities in the Occupied Territories.
7. Both Embassy staff and the FCO have raised
the use of specific equipment (including combat helicopters and
tanks and components thereof), as well as the use of any strategically-controlled
UK export with the Israelis. We have also been actively monitoring,
and continue to do so, the equipment used since the outbreak of
violence. Many UK exports have been components or pieces of technology
embedded in other systems and are therefore not very visible.
The UK has not sold main equipment such as tanks, aircraft, warships
or artillery to Israel since May 1997.
8. The attached annex
contains details of the temporary licence issued in 1998 for CS
gas and tear gas/irritant ammunition (the licence covered both
these types of equipment). The Government set out in answer to
a Parliamentary Question on 21 October 1998 (below) the considerations
it gives to applications for temporary exports for demonstration,
trial, testing or evaluation purposes. The issuing of that temporary
licence in no way fettered our discretion in considering any future
application for the export of that type of equipment. It should
be noted that the company concerned have informed the Export Control
Organisation of the Department of Trade and Industry that the
goods exported under this temporary licence have been returned
to the UK
HANSARD WRITTEN ANSWER, 21 OCTOBER 1998
Mr Alan Johnson: To ask the Secretary
of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his
answer of 28 July 1997, Official Report, columns 26-29,
how the criteria for defence exports are used to assess applications
for licence to export arms or goods subject to control for strategic
reasons, for the purpose of demonstration, trial, testing or evaluation.
Mr Tony Lloyd: Licence
applications to export goods and technology controlled, under
Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order
1994, (the "Military List",) or dual use goods when
there are grounds for believing that the end-user of such goods
will be the armed forces or internal security forces of the recipient
country, are examined on a case-by-case basis against the published
defence exports criteria and the EU Code of Conduct.
When the application is for demonstration, trial,
testing or evaluation, purposes, attention is paid to the level
of control exercised by the exporter and whether the export will
be temporary in arriving at a judgement as to whether the equipment
might be used for internal repression, international aggression,
diverted to an undesirable end-user or otherwise contravene the
If a decision is taken to issue such a licence,
this in no way fetters our discretion in considering future applications
for the export of equipment of the type demonstrated or evaluated.
Such applications will be treated on their merits against the
prevailing circumstances at that time.
In some cases, licensees will be informed that,
on the information available at the time, a licence would not
normally be granted for the permanent export of the same or a
greater quantity of the goods concerned to the same end-user,
irrespective of the purpose of the intended export.
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