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16 Apr 2024

UK: Protesters target arms companies for allegedly exporting components for weapons used by the Israeli military; incl. co. comments & non-responses

On April 4th, the Financial Times published an article reporting on the warning of more than 600 jurists that the UK risks breaking international law over a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza by continuing to export weapons to Israel. Calls to end arms exports to Israel have also been made by campaigners and protesters, whose calls target both the government and UK weapon companies.

Arms campaigners accuse Elbit Systems UK's subsidiary UAV Engines of supplying Elbit's Israeli parent with the engine for the Hermes 450 drone; the drone which was allegedly used during the strike that killed seven aid workers on April 1. Elbit Systems UK told the Financial Times: “Elbit Systems UK, its subsidiaries and joint ventures, including UAV Engines Limited and U-Tacs, are not involved in the Hermes 450 programme.”

According to the Financial Times, both Leonardo UK and BAE Systems supply parts of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter aircraft, which is used by the Israeli military. In a reply to the Financial Times BAE Systems stated that it has "no operations or employees in Israel or Gaza, nor do we sell military equipment directly to Israel". However, BAE Systems added that they are "a partner on Lockheed Martin’s global F-35 programme, which includes Israel."

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Lockheed Martin and Leonardo to respond to the allegations, they did not respond.