Jay Syrmopoulos–While British politicians have increasingly “declared war on knives,” recently moving to ban the kitchen utensil in the name of keeping citizens safe from knife violence, since the 2014 war in Gaza, the UK government has approved the sale of $445 million in arms to the state of Israel.
The UK attempting to criminalize those carrying knives, after largely banishing guns, while simultaneously selling Israel arms—including parts for sniper rifles that are routinely used to kill innocent Palestinians—is the height of hypocrisy.
The arms deal included components for combat aircraft, drones, and helicopters, as well as spare parts for sniper rifles, as reported by Middle East Eye. It is almost certain that British-made weapons are being used by the Israeli military in the Occupied Territories and have raised fears that components in sniper rifles used to kill scores of Palestinian civilians in recent weeks could have been made in the UK.
“No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law,” London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted on April 8.
Shortly after Kahn’s city-wide ban on knives, Dr. John Crichton, chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a leading doctor in Scotland called for a banning “killer” kitchen knives, according to The Express.
In a nod to the ever-expanding police state under the guise of safety (sound familiar), British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called for increased use of stop-and-search powers by police. “You have got to stop them, you have got to search them and you have got to take the knives out of their possession,” he said
While there has been a domestic movement to disarm British subjects, starting with guns and now moving to knives, the British government seemingly has no problem increasing arms sales to an Israeli government accused of oppressive human rights violations against the Palestinians.
In fact, arms exports from the UK to Israel have grown from $28 million in 2015, to $300 million currently, according to Department for International Trade data:
UK arms sales to Israel
Source: Dept for Int Trade
Palestinian photojournalist Yaser Murtaja, who was wearing a jacket that clearly said “PRESS”, was killed after being shot in the chest by an Israeli sniper while covering a peaceful march. As The Intercept noted, “Either the Israeli sniper could not clearly see who was in the rifle scope—in which case the claim that the use of live fire is precise is shown to be untrue—or the soldier intentionally fired at a journalist, which is a war crime.”
Additionally, the heinous nature of Israeli snipers murdering innocent civilians was on clear display in a recent video reported by The Free Thought Project, which showed a non-threatening man standing in a field being killed by an Israeli sniper.
In the video, a man is heard asking “Do you have a bullet in the barrel?” and then “is it on him?” according to a translation reported by Haaretz.
The individual they are targeting is so far in the distance that the man who is filming appears to be holding some form of binoculars in front of the camera, in order to capture a clear picture.
A man is seen standing motionless on the other side of the barrier as another man and a small child walk past him. Another man remarked, “I can’t see because of the wire” and then said, “there’s a little boy there,” noting the presence of the child.
The sniper then pulled the trigger and fired one shot, striking the Palestinian man who was standing still and was making no attempt to do anything that could have threatened the soldiers who had been observing him from a distance.
Cheers erupted from the Israelis after the Palestinian man was shot and then collapsed on the ground. The man filming the shooting can be heard saying, “Wow, what a video! Yes! Son of a bitch. What a video, here, run and get him out of there. Of course, I filmed it.”
Dozens of other Palestinians then run to the scene to check on the man who was shot, and one Israeli man said, “Wow, someone was hit in the head,” while the cameraman said, “what a legendary video,” and another man remarked, “he flew in the air.”
“Take that, you sons of bitches,” the cameraman can be heard saying as the video ends.
According to Palestinian officials, at least 40 people have been killed since the start of the “Great March Return,” a six-week protest of the Israeli occupation, which began earlier this month.
In the wake of the violence, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a review of arms sales due to Israel’s “illegal and inhumane” killing and wounding of “yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters.”
The killings have sparked an outcry from the international community but went largely ignored by American mass media, after the news emerged that Israeli snipers were given orders allowing them to shoot unarmed Palestinians who came within 100 yards of the Gaza security fence.
While the political elite of British society are quick to condemn the rising trend of knife assaults in the UK, and move to further curtail civil liberties of British subjects, few of these individuals—aside from Jeremy Corbyn—seem to question the orthodoxy of the UK government selling arms to an Israeli government that routinely perpetrates war crimes against innocent Palestinians.