We are arming the IDF, and we have nothing to gain from it

Killing children is in our best interests. Really.

Killing children is in our best interests. Really.

Back in June, Prime Minister David Cameron said “Made in Britain is once again a badge of pride.” We have a long history of it. We gave the world their steam engines, their off-road cars, their ships, their buses, their printing presses, even their internet.

It is heritage such as this we should be proud of, being the workshop of the world. It is heritage such as this built up Britain to be one of the foremost economies on earth – even if we did own most of the countries that ended up buying our goods.

Now most of our home industries are gone. We build very few cars, even fewer trains, and certainly not printing presses. The shipyards that once lined our coasts are now few and far between. When we do build ships, we like to build warships.

And fighter jets.

And weapons.

We do quite well from the old arms sales. As the Prime Minister said, “getting our economy moving again, rebalancing our economy, making sure every region of our country benefits – none of these things happens by accident.”

We sell arms because it makes us money. That money keeps the British economy afloat. That economy keeps people in jobs, and that keeps the population relatively happy.

Or it would, if that were at all true.

It definitely doesn’t keep the children of Gaza happy, certainly. You see, Britain last year (according to this report by the Independent) sold around £7.8billion of weaponry to Israel, who are currently attracting international condemnation because of their attacks on Gaza. Bombing hospitals, houses, even a UN school that they were told the location of seventeen times. Seventeen.

We are all complicit in this, because we sold them some of the weapons to make this happen. It is probably the reason we abstained on a vote on a UN resolution on the issue. As did Austria, France, and Germany. Guess what we all have in common.

An estimate last year placed Britain’s GDP – the value of the country’s goods and services – at US$2.5trillion. Of that, almost a third of that is made up of exports, some $778billion.

There is no doubting that $778 billion is a huge sum, and a small drop could have a bigger impact. However, the figure we are talking about is a meagre 0.5% of our GDP. Our economy grows by more than that in six months. Quite frankly, given our recent economic troubles, we wouldn’t even notice it.

So, we could cut our arms exports to Israel if we wanted to. But we won’t, even though our own leader says that “we are now the fastest growing major economy in the west.”

Perhaps the question that we should be asking ourselves is how many more innocent men, women, and children have to be been killed, by weapons that we have sold, before we review our arms export policy?

Image: Israeli Defence Forces