British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told lawmakers that all current and future export licenses to Israel were being looked at "in light of recent events in Gaza." The government had been pressed by lawmakers to ensure that British-made weapons or weapon components weren't used by Israeli forces in their attack on Gaza, which lasted more than three weeks and left about 1,400 dead, according to one Palestinian count.
Israel launched the assault in late December in an attempt to stem the barrage of rockets being fired from Gaza onto Israeli territory.
Britain supplies less than 1 percent of Israel's military imports, Miliband said in a written statement. But he acknowledged that some U.K.-supplied components were "almost certainly" used in the assault.
He said those included displays used in F-16 combat aircraft, radar and navigation equipment used on Apache attack helicopters, and parts for a gun used on Israel's Saar-class corvettes. In the case of the F-16 and Apache parts, he said those were exported to the United States and the finished products were passed on to Israel.
Miliband added that minor components supplied to Israel for use in its reconnaissance satellites "may have been involved" in preparing for the assault. But he said that, contrary to reports carried by media and human rights groups, there was no evidence that U.K.-supplied equipment for Israel's unmanned aircraft industry were used by the Israel Defense Forces or that U.K. components were used to build Merkava tanks or D9 armored bulldozers used by Israel in the conflict.
Miliband did not say whether the export of the U.K.-made parts used in the assault would be restricted in any way, saying only that their use by Israel's military would be taken into account when officials licensed technology for export.
The Israeli Embassy in London did not immediately return a call seeking comment.