FRIDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2014
- Baroness Tonge: What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel concerning the alleged hanging of a Palestinian bus driver by settlers in Jerusalem on 17 November?
- Baroness Tonge: What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel concerning reports of its firing on agricultural land and fishing boats during October?
Nos 1-2 Lords Written Answers
THURSDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2014
- Paul Flynn: What is the estimate of the number of a) British citizens, b) British residents holding dual passports and c) British residents holding foreign passports who left the UK in 2014 to fight, i.a., for the IDF in Gaza?
- Chris Williamson: What emergency aid is DfID providing for Gazans whose homes have been destroyed in the recent conflict?
- Chris Williamson: What support has DfID provided for trained psychosocial counsellors to help children in Gaza?
- Chris Williamson: What estimate has DfID Secretary made of the cost of the reconstruction of Gaza?
- Chris Williamson: What assistance has DfID provided for British physicians and nurses working on short missions in Gaza? http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2014-11-10/214034
- Chris Williamson: What assessment has DfID Secretary made of the extent of damage to basic infrastructure and housing in Gaza arising from the recent conflict? http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2014-11-10/214088
Nos 1-6 Commons Written Answers
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Digital Impact – motion moved by Baroness Kidron:
– Baroness Uddin: [excerpt] “When 250 children chose their top rights to uphold, they selected the basics: clean air, clean water, nutritious food, health care and shelter. One cannot help but wonder whether peace, safety and security would also top the list for the children in occupied Palestine…..”
- Baroness Tonge: Further to the WA by Baroness Anelay on 20 October, what assessment have HMG made of the position of Israel, in respect of the obligation to respect human rights as being an essential element of any trade agreement with the UK?
- Lord Kalms: What discussions have HMG had with the PA about the recent suicide attacks on Israeli citizens in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?
- Lord Palmer of Childs Hill: What assessment have HMG made of recent reports that Hamas intends to use building materials to rebuild tunnels to attack Israel?
- 11. Lord Fink: What discussions have HMG had with the PA about recent fatal attacks on the Metro train line running between East and West Jerusalem?
Lords Written Answers
TUESDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2014
- George Galloway: Will the Foreign Secretary make representations to the Israeli government condemning its closure of the al-Aqsa mosque and other parts of the al-Sharif site in Jerusalem and its plan to build 1,000 housing units in illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem?
Commons Written Answers
- Baroness Tonge: What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel concerning Israeli citizens having access to pray within the Al-Aqsa compound? http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141111w0001.htm#14111164000456
- Baroness Tonge: What discussions have HMG held with the government of Israel concerning its alleged weapons testing, including of dense inert metal explosives, during Operation Protective Edge?
- Baroness Tonge: Do HMG intend to take any action in respect of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s order to advance plans for new housing units in East Jerusalem?
- Baroness Tonge: Do HMG intend to take action in respect of Israel’s recent appropriation of land for settlement building between the Etzion settlement bloc in the Bethlehem area and Jerusalem?
- Lord Hylton: When do HMG expect payments of the $5.4 billion pledged for reconstruction in Gaza to begin; and who will be responsible for collecting the pledges, and for supervising payments for work done?
- Baroness Tonge: What discussions have HMG held with the government of Israel concerning the directive issued by Moshe Ya’alon in respect of segregating bus lines in the West Bank?
Nos 2-7 Lords Written Answers
MONDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2014
- Nigel Evans: What recent assessment has FCO made of the military capability of Hamas?
- David Jones: What recent representations has Foreign Secretary made to the Israeli authorities over the disturbances at the Al Aqsa compound?
Nos 1-2 Commons Written Answers
- Lord Maginnis: Further to the WA by Baroness Anelay on 24 October, on what moral or humanitarian basis have HMG developed their policies in respect of Bosnians, Palestinians, and Turkish-Cypriots; and what underlying principles are being applied in each case?
- Baroness Tonge: What discussions have HMG held with other European governments concerning the apportioning of contracts to rebuild Gazan housing and infrastructure?
Nos 3-4 Lords Written Answers
- HoC Arms Export Controls Committee: Scrutiny of Arms Exports (2015)
Part 1 Witnesses:
Roy Isbister, Team Leader, Small Arms and Transfer Controls, Saferworld
Martin Butcher, Policy Advisor-Arms Campaign, Oxfam GB
Oliver Sprague, Programme Director, Military Secuirty and Police, Amnesty International UK
Sir John Stanley: I want to begin with a broad but extremely important question, probably as far as the Committee is concerned, the single most important policy question which is before us, and that is the Government’s policy on the export of those type of arms that could be used for internal repression. And the question I want to put to you is: Do you consider that under the present Government that policy has become more relaxed, do you consider it has become tighter, or do you consider it has remained more or less unchanged from the previous policy as stated in October 2000 by the previous government?
Oliver Sprague: I think this year we are genuinely concerned about a number of statements and decisions that have emerged from the Government export control machine, ministerial answers to questions and things like that which I think for us suggests that there is a worrying departure from the rules as we had known them. We could probably talk more about this in our evidence but I think we would cite the justification of the decision around the Gaza licensing situation recently as an example.[passage omitted]
@ 30:04 Ann McKechin: If I could turn now to Israel, it’s obviously been a subject of controversy, and the Chair has mentioned, you’ve mentioned today about the fact that the Government, in talking about the subject of suspension and revocation, said they would only do so if there was a resumption of significant hostilities. And you’ve argued that this has set a fundamentally dangerous and alarming precedent. Could I ask each of you what you think the implications are of that phraseology and where does that actually leave us in terms of the arms criteria?
Oliver Sprague: Up until that statement that licenses would be suspended pending a resumption of significant hostilities, we were always under the assumption that UK Government policy had been based on a risk assessment based on the likelihood and foreseeability of breaches of the criteria. So if we look for example at Criteria 2, is there a clear risk that the equipment might be used for internal repression, which also includes deciding how likely that is based on evidence on how equipment might have been used in the past. So when one of the Foreign Ministers in a debate in Parliament says that this is the third time in six years that Gaza has escalated into crisis using precisely the kind of equipment that we believe were subject to licenses, the Government had admitted that those 12 licenses covered systems that were at risk of being used, I think if you take all of that together the UK’s existing policy should have been clear. It should have suspended or revoked any license that it saw as risk of being used in that crisis. Three or four years ago the Government concluded that arms of that type had actually been used in the previous crisis in 2009. I think the phrase they used was “almost certainly had been used”. So in that respect I think using a phrase like resumption of significant hostilities in some ways rides coach and horses through the previous understanding of a preventative approach based on clear risk.
Ann McKechin: Can I just ask whether you’re aware if any other EU exporting state applied any suspension or revocation this summer?
Oliver Sprague: Spain unilaterally suspended all of its export licenses in light of the crisis.
Roy Isbister: There are some other EU member states that have some very, very strict licensing policies anyway on exports to Israel. Sweden is one example where the only military exports to Israel are for production purposes, for equipment that will not be used in Israel but will be exported to a third destination. So clearly it’s a sensitive destination for a number of states across the EU.
Martin Butcher: I would just add Oxfam’s perspective, that our concerns about Gaza in this area relate to our mission as a humanitarian organisation. Over the last 10 years the EU as the largest donor in Gaza has given 1.3 billion Euros for rebuilding, half a billion of that after the military operations in 2009. Much more is required this time. If we are talking about the test of significant hostilities, then we saw 17,000 homes destroyed, the single operating power plant put out of action, at one point at least in August everybody living in Gaza was without access to clean water. Oxfam is providing water and sanitation now to hundreds of thousands of people. Gaza needs 89,000 new dwellings, 226 schools just to get back to the status quo ante. So we have very significant humanitarian concerns and would note that the use of arms under international humanitarian law in these situations is supposed to include an element of proportionality to a threat. And given statistics like these it’s open to question….
Ann McKechin: Can I just press you a little bit more? Is your case that actually the Government should still suspend these licenses until there is a marked improvement in terms of where the future is between Gaza and the Israeli authorities? Is it your view that there is still the clear risk, which would justify a suspension of these licenses which have been identified by the Government?
Oliver Sprague: Yes, from Amnesty’s viewpoint, we called on… actually we went further, we called for an arms embargo to impose on all sides in response to the 2009 crisis and we don’t think anything has significantly changed in the nature of that conflict to allay fears that this isn’t going to erupt again. So, in our view if the Government have identified equipment that risks being used in that current crisis then they should be suspended until that risk no longer exists. And I don’t think that we have in any way nearly reached that threshold. So yes they should clearly have revoked them.
Chair: On the same subject, Fabian Hamilton.
Fabian Hamilton: Just very briefly, is here not a danger though that policy is dictated by what happens to have good media coverage? And it’s right, of course, that a conflict like Gaza has good media coverage, but I am thinking of conflicts where British arms exports may be used for internal repression but we never hear about it, for example in China and Tibet – that is one example and there are many others around the world.[omitted: witnesses agree that consistency is important; other topics also omitted]
@ 1:06:00 Part 2 Witnesses:
Paul Everitt, Chief Executive, ADS,
Sue Tooze, Deputy Head of Trade Controls-Compliance and Assurance, BAE Systems,
Bernadette Peers, Compliance Manager, Strategic Shipping Company Ltd
David Wilson, Export Compliance, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services and Chairman of Export Group for Aerospace and Defence (EGAD),