THE High Court will today (April 23) hear the case against the UK continuing weapons exports to Israel.

The UK-based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and the Al-Haq human rights organisation, which is based in the Palestinian West Bank, are challenging the UK Government’s decision to allow arms sales to Israel amid fears they will be used in Gaza to breach international law.

According to the UK Government’s export licencing criteria, Tory ministers must block arms sales if there is “a clear risk” that weapons might be used to commit or facilitate “internal repression” or “a serious violation of international humanitarian law”.

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Documents published as a result of the court case have shown that legal experts in the Foreign Office have said that “the volume of [Israeli] strikes [in Gaza], total death toll, as well as proportion of those who are children raise serious concerns”.

After receiving the above advice in November, Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch ultimately decided to allow arms sales to continue the following month.

The legal case against their decision – which was first filed by GLAN and Al-Haq on December 6, 2023 – was previously dismissed by the High Court on February 18, but leave to appeal was granted and an oral evidence session will be held on Tuesday.

If successful, the UK Government will be forced to defend its decision to allow weapons sales to Israel – despite mounting legal opinion that doing so is unlawful – in a full High Court hearing.

The UK Government declined to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

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Earlier in April, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (above) insisted the UK Government has an “obligation” to follow the official legal advice on the conflict in the Middle East, which he said has left their position on export licences unchanged.

Tory ministers have repeatedly resisted calls to publish the assessments they receive of whether Israel’s military action in Gaza is in line with international humanitarian law – but say they are acting in accordance with them.

GLAN said they had doubts about the Tory ministers’ assertions.

In a statement linked to the court case on their website, GLAN said: “We wrote to the government to request that they confirm whether it is accurate that ‘the Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law,’ per the leaked recording of Alicia Kearns MP [the Tory chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee].

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“If that is the case, it is likely that in failing to disclose this material update in the context of ongoing litigation, the Government will have breached its obligations to the court under the duty of candour.”

GLAN went on: “The kinds of items exported include components for the F35 stealth combat aircraft currently being used in the bombardment of Gaza, as well as body armour, military communications equipment, military electronic equipment, components for military radars and targeting equipment, naval vessel components, and much more.

“Given that these items are all capable of being used in Israel’s actions against Palestinians, many of which are criminal acts under international law, there is plainly a ‘clear risk’ under the Strategic Licensing Criteria, so the Government should not be issuing these licences.”