Friday, January 16, 2009

A letter to David Miliband MP

Rt. Hon David Miliband MP - Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH

Dear Foreign Secretary

Re: This ship and Gaza

I urge immediate action to stop arms shipments en route to the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza and agree a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups to help ensure that weapons will not be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law.

I learn that a German-owned container ship the Wehr Elbe, is currently transporting some 989 CONTAINERS of US munitions en route to Israel. It was heading to the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza but at the time of writing its status is unclear. The weapons are still on the ship and they must not be allowed to be unloaded for use in the deadly conflict in Gaza.

This vast consignment of weapons could be delivered at any time in the next few days. A further consignment of an additional 325 containers of weapons, likely to include White Phosphorous, was due to be shipped from Askatos in Greece to Israel. This ship was last spotted off the port of Askatos on 12th January 2009. I urge to you take all possible diplomatic measures to stop these and pending and future shipments to any of the parties to this current conflict .

I am also concerned about recent reports that UK arms components may be used in military equipment used by the Israeli armed forces. Specifically, it would appear that a UK company may have provided engines for Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs). Such pilot-less drone Aircraft have been widely used by Israeli forces to help target bombs, aircraft and helicopter attacks in Lebanon and Gaza. It is vital that the UK does not license components that could be used in the current conflict

I encourage your personal support for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The need for such a treaty remains pressing and urgent. As a champion of the ATT, it is vital that the UK’s own arms export controls are sufficiently tough and that all necessary action is taken to prevent arms fueling the current crisis in Gaza.

Yours in hope,


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