Facing arms sales embargo from Spain and possibly the UK over its war in in Gaza, Israel in an ironic twist has suspended military contracts with Russia over its action in Crimea.
While Russia faces multiple sanctions from around the world for its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, Israel is under fire for its month-long assault on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
The Ukraine crisis has left approximately 270 dead in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk since the start of operations against militants. The Gaza conflict has claimed about 1,800 Palestinians dead and over 9,000 wounded since July 8.
Under pressure from Washington, Israel today said it would halt drone sales to Russia as a by-product of the Ukraine conflict. Even as it criticized Israel for the bombings of schools, hospitals and UN shelters in Gaza, Washington vowed to continue a $3 billion military aid to Israel.
According to reports, the Israeli Ministry of Defense has ordered local manufacturers to stop fresh negotiations with Russia and is likely a result of political pressure from the US. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS) had earlier signed contracts with Russia for the sale of drones.
Ironically, Israel found itself on the receiving end of a sanction with Spain announcing an arms embargo against the Jewish-state. Although its arms trade with the country is minor, consisting of only 4.9 million euros in 2013 and around 1% of Spain's export.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for a review of sales worth £8 billion in arms and military goods to Israel to see whether each licence was appropriate under the circumstances.
The Green party has called for an outright arms embargo on Israel, saying the sale of military parts was “nothing short of scandalous”. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton, on England’s southern coast, said, “There must be an immediate embargo on all arms sales and military co-operation with Israel.”
The contracts – mostly for cryptographic software and military communications, but also weapon parts – will be individually examined to ensure they are not being used for internal repression or the provocation of conflict.
The British government confirmed it was conducting the review after prime minister David Cameron made his strongest comments yet on the crisis, saying the UN was right to condemn the shelling of schools as a “moral outrage”, according to the Irish Times newspaper.
Meanwhile local media reports accuse the Government of failing to regulate arms sales to Israel following evidence that weapons containing British-made components are being used in the bombardment of Gaza.
According to documents obtained by The Independent, arms export licences worth £42m have been granted to 130 British defence manufacturers since 2010 to sell military equipment to Israel. These range from weapons control and targeting systems to ammunition, drones and armoured vehicles.
Among the manufacturers given permission to make sales were two UK companies supplying components for the Hermes drone, described by the Israeli air force as the “backbone” of its targeting and reconnaissance missions. One of the two companies also supplies components for Israel’s main battle tank, the report added.