Quadripartite Select Committee Written Evidence

Letter from the Government

  Arms Exports to Israel: Reply to Quadripartite Letter of 4 April 2006.

  Thank you for your letter of 4 April requesting additional information on exports to Israel.

  Firstly, I confirm government policy is as it was set out in October 2002. This letter is in accordance with declared policy and relays our position on monitoring use that we have previously given the Committee in some detail.

  You asked for clarification about how Government applies the policy to items that could be used both to defend Israel against external attack and which could be "deployed aggressively in the Occupied Territories".

All export licence applications to Israel are judged on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria which include scrutiny against the risk of use for internal repression, external aggression and the risk of diversion. If we consider that there is a clear risk that equipment might be used in the OTs, we refuse the application.

  You also seek clarification of how the policy applies to components, both equipment used (or to be used) by the Israeli authorities and equipment intended for re-export but where there is a risk of diversion to use by Israel.

  Any applications that are for final end use by the Israeli authorities are assessed against the Criteria after we have sought advice from Tel Aviv about what the Israeli authorities would use the equipment for. Also considered is whether the end user has used the equipment in a manner inconsistent with any of the Criteria in the past.

  Any application for incorporation to a third country that contains equipment that might also be used by the Israeli authorities are considered against the Criteria and other announced government policy such as the Incorporation Factors (July 8 2002, Column: 653W and Column: 654W). Point (e) of the Incorporation Factors is the standing of the entity to which the goods are to be exported. All such applications have supporting documentation from the third countries in the form of purchase orders, contracts or end user undertakings.

  By assessing any potential export against the Criteria we assess the risk of diversion within Israel and within the country of final destination. If we have any concerns about diversion for an application, we recommend refusal.

  You also seek confirmation about assurances. The reply to the PQ of 15 April 2002 still holds true about the use of assurances; we do not use them. All decisions are made using the Consolidated Criteria and other announced policy. (Column 721W 15/04/2002) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/vo020415/text/20415w08.htm£20415w08.html—sbhd6

  You ask us to explain how we ensure that items exported to Israel are not used aggressively in the Occupied Territories and how we monitor the use of equipment by the Israeli authorities in the Occupied Territories to ensure that British policy on exports is not breached.

  HMG does not use end use monitoring to check on exports of concern. HMG does not licence goods where we have concerns about their use.

  If despite careful consideration of the licence application, concerns later arise over use of a UK export (from observation by Post, media or non-governmental organisations) these will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken, including the revoking of licences issued. Such concerns will also be taken into account fully when future export licence applications are considered.

April 2006

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