Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 53 Number 32, December 3, 2023 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Britain's military support for Israel

UK Drones Conducting "Surveillance Flights" over Gaza

On Saturday, December 2, the Minister of Defence (MoD) issued a short online statement saying that Britain "will conduct surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza".

On December 3, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, appearing as government spokesperson on Sky News was asked about the flights and said, "The Ministry of Defence has announced that it has sent some unmanned and unarmed, surveillance drones into the region to help look for hostages." Subsequently appearing on the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg show, Atkins repeated that "unarmed and unmanned drones" were being sent to the region to help look for hostages. [1]

Writing in Drone Wars UK, Chris Cole says: "Reporting of the MoD's original statement by BBC and others included a line which stated that aircraft undertaking the missions 'will include Shadow R1s, which the Royal Air Force use for intelligence gathering' but this now appears to have been removed from the online statement. The MoD's statement did not mention drones.

"While the MoD says that 'only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities' it is likely that electronic, signal and video intelligence of Gaza gathered by the aircraft will end up in the hands of the Israeli Defence Force. If so, many would consider the UK a participant in this horrific conflict which has killed thousands of innocent civilians and seen repeated violations of international law.

"The drones despatched are likely to be RAF Reaper drones which have been operating over Iraq and Syria for almost a decade. Earlier this year, an RAF Reaper was sent to Sudan to assist with evacuation of UK personnel.

Destruction of homes in Gaza

"While some news organisations reported this as the first UK deployment of aircraft in the conflict, in fact as far back as October 13 the Prime Minister announced that UK surveillance aircraft were to be deployed 'to support Israel'."

Drone Wars UK reports: "Since the beginning of 2023, the MoD has increased the level of secrecy surrounding the use of drones, refusing to provide details of UK Reaper operations arguing that it needs 'ambiguity' about such deployments. This latest episode - where a Cabinet Minister states on camera that UK drones have been deployed yet the Ministry of Defence refuses to acknowledge the deployment - is another ridiculous example of the secrecy surrounding UK drones."

The article says: "While the government will argue that it is undertaking these operations to assist with hostage rescue, it is easy to see how UK drones and other aircraft undertaking surveillance operations over Gaza could get further drawn into 'supporting Israel' in this horrific conflict."

The reality reveals that rather than working for a ceasefire, the British government is a prime mover is the conflict, shamelessly deploying its military assets to assist the Israeli assault and destruction. It is boasting of running aerial surveillance over Gaza to identify targets for Israel. This gives the lie to its alleged humanitarian credentials as the world cries out for a permanent ceasefire and that Palestine's right to be is recognised and guaranteed. Britain's support for and collusion with Israeli Zionism must be ended!


[1] Cabinet Minister says UK drones flying surveillance missions over Gaza - Drone Wars UK">


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