As Prime Minister Gordon Brown postures on Gaza, it seems that Britain has assumed a crucial, if not unwitting role in the conflict:
UAV Engines Ltd (UEL), based in Lichfield near Birmingham, has stated that it manufactures the engines for Hermes 450 UAVs (pilotless aircraft) produced by its parent company, Elbit Systems of Israel. Specifications displayed by Elbit Systems beside a Hermes 450 aircraft at a 2006 defence exhibition, photographs of which have been obtained by Amnesty International, also state that the Hermes 450 is powered by a ‘UEL AR-80-1010’ engine manufactured by UEL. The initial version of the aircraft was reportedly powered by an ‘AR741’ engine, also produced by the Lichfield company; this was reportedly replaced by a UEL AR-80-1010 when Israeli forces, at that time the only users of the aircraft, first acquired them in 1997.
Hermes 450s are described by their manufacturer as ‘the ‘backbone’ of Israeli army and air force ISTAR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition And Reconnaissance] missions’. They have reportedly been deployed for surveillance and targeting missions in Gaza prior to 2006, and were reportedly central to IDF operations in Gaza and Lebanon during 2006, according to Elbit Systems. Defence media shortly after the 2006 conflict quoted Israeli Air Force sources discussing the performance of the Israeli Air Force Hermes 450’s ’50hp (40kW) UEL engine’. [Source]
In recent days a sizable amount of criticism has been heaped upon America, who, through silence, is viewed a major contributor towards the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
In addition to the steady flow of donations and funding pouring from American government coffers into Israeli projects, the silence is viewed as compliance.
The findings of Amnesty International raise pertinent questions over this side of the Atlantic however, and not just in Britain:
Similarly the AH-64 Apache helicopter, used by Israel in the 2006 Lebanon crisis, is made up of over 6,000 parts manufactured worldwide, including in the UK. Under the EU Code of Conduct, the UK and other European countries should refuse to export attack helicopters directly to Israel. Yet components have been exported to the USA, where they are incorporated into the Apache for onward sale to Israel. [Source]
Ultimately, we are all guilty.
For a number of well-worn reasons, the world remains unwilling to stand up to Israel.
Imagine for a moment if Britain and her European fellows refused to construct the parts necessary for the floating murder-machines that swoop into view and wipe out entire families.
Imagine if America refused to pass on the Apaches or ceased funding Israel to the exorbitant amounts that it has become accustomed in recent years.
We can march and opine, but so long as our governments enable the machines of death to be manufactured on European and American soil, our calls will be in vain.
Which is why a boycott of not just oranges and lemons is required, but one of industrial proportions.
Our governments must listen to us, the people, not Israel.
It is time for Europe and America to get off the whipping block and snatch the switch from its ruler.
Then, we can talk real peace.