A ‘partial embargo’ is not enough…
It is a measure of the suspension of the normal rules of judgement when it comes to Israel that the governments decision to cancel 5 out of 182 arms export licences to concerning spare parts for the Israeli Navy is worthy of some truly sensationalist reporting saying Britain is now ’embargoing’ Israel. If only that were the case; the international communities refusal to view matters in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with a balanced eye is one of the deciding factors in it’s continuation because while Israel feels it can proceed however it feels without the threat of recourse it will continue too and it’s opponents will continue to be equally reckless and callous.
Amnesty International has produced a report which has said that both sides committed war crimes. Donatella Rovera, who headed an Amnesty International field research mission to Gaza and southern Israel during and after the conflict, said:
“‘Israel’s failure to properly investigate its forces’ conduct in Gaza, including war crimes, and its continuing refusal to cooperate with the UN international independent fact-finding mission headed by Richard Goldstone, is evidence of its intention to avoid public scrutiny and accountability.
‘The international community, led by the UN Security Council, must use all its leverage to ensure that Israel cooperates fully with the Goldstone inquiry, which now offers the best means to establish the truth.’
Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups fired hundreds of rockets into southern Israel, killing three Israeli civilians, injuring scores and driving thousands from their homes. ‘Such unlawful attacks constitute war crimes and are unacceptable,’added Rovera. ”
Restricting the arms flow to both parties should of course be the goal of the international community; embargoing Israel further would send a clear signal that a more even-handed approach will be taken and it was right of Nick Clegg to call for the drastic curtailment of these kind of licences. The government in not renewing these five has taken a step in the right direction but it needs to go further.