The Rt Hon William Hague MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Date: 2nd June 2014
I am writing to you regarding a publication I received from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, by the organisation War on Want, entitled ‘Killer Drones – UK complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people’.
The publication focuses specifically on UK government contracts to develop surveillance drones in conjunction with Israeli arms company Elbit, and its partner company Thales UK. The drone “the Watchkeeper” has been closely based on Elbit’s Hermes 450 model, which has been used extensively over Gaza, killing thousands of civilians.
Based on what I have read, the British government’s relationship with Elbit is unacceptable and absolutely detrimental to the peace process in the Middle East. Despite abundant evidence of Israel’s unlawful use of force, the British government continues to collaborate with Israel’s army and military industry. Moreover, the British government is lending material support to Israel’s continued military action, by licencing arms exports to and from Israel.
I am, therefore, repeating my previous call for a military embargo, and an end to the arms trade with Israel, in which the British government ends all contracts with Elbit systems and Elbit subsidiaries.
Finally, I am calling for the EU to end all research funding for Israel’s arms companies and for the UK to take a strong position in facilitating this process. I understand that the UK Government is currently working with European partners to support the peace process by providing a package of incentives for both Israel and Palestine. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that this is not undermined and counteracted by the provision of funding for military companies based in Israel.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.