Govt challenged in court over Israel arms flights

Government challenged for allowing US flights carrying arms to Israel through UK airports
Government challenged for allowing US flights carrying arms to Israel through UK airports

The government is today being accused of "aiding and abetting" breaches of international law by allowing US flights carrying arms to Israel to use UK airports.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is launching a court action against the Civil Aviation Authority, the Foreign Office and the defence secretary for what it claims is their complicity in Israel's attacks on southern Lebanon.

There was an outcry last month when it emerged that Glasgow's Prestwick airport was being used to refuel two US military flights transporting laser-guided bombs to Israel. A number of other airports are thought to have been used in the past few weeks.

At the time, foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said she was "not happy" about the situation and promised to bring it up with the Bush administration.

But today the IHRC is seeking permission to bring proceedings against the government for its participation in what it described as "grave and serious violations" of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention in southern Lebanon.

"We hope to establish that the laws which govern issues of international law should not be affected by how friendly a particular government is with us," chairman Massoud Shadjareh told

He said he was bringing the case following complaints from British citizens with family in Lebanon, adding: "We hope that the independent court will finally uphold the will of parliament and enforce the law."

Tony Blair has consistently refused to condemn Israel's attacks in southern Lebanon as disproportionate, although Foreign Office minister Kim Howells has described it as such.


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