WHILE GAZA BURNS
By a Daily Wales correspondent
As Israel’s Operation Protective Edge moves into its fourth week of murder and mayhem, the response from Labour’s Welsh Government has been non-existent.
Unlike our cousins in Scotland, Carwyn Jones’ administration has yet to offer any words of comfort to the people of Gaza, let alone aid, and there has been no condemnation of Israel’s ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ approach to international diplomacy and conflict resolution.
Alex Salmond’s government’s offer of £500,000 in humanitarian aid will no doubt be a great help to the besieged people of the Strip, as Israel cranks up its vice-like grip on the lives of millions of impoverished, frightened Gazans.
Unfortunately, Wales’ major contribution to the conflict is not aid but the export of military hardware and know-how to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has identified 28 firms in Wales that export military equipment.
CAAT’s research shows that six of these firms have obtained licences to export arms to Israel.
- Babcock International, which operates in St Athan and on Ynys Môn (Anglesey).
- BAE Systems, which has a huge explosive projectile factory at Glascoed, near Usk.
- QinetiQ, which has R&D facilities in Aberporth and Pendine.
- Qioptic, based in Bodelwyddan and St Asaph.
- Raytheon at Broughton.
- Hutchinson Aerospace Group, which has a facility in Drenewydd.
Each of these company’s Welsh operations is, at the very least indirectly, linked to the slaughter of Gaza’s men, women and children by the IDF.
First Minister Jones had more pressing military matters on his mind during the past week, visiting Montreal to give the keynote speech at the International Political Science Association 2014 Congress.
He told the media:
“The NATO summit will bring Wales unprecedented levels of international attention and an opportunity like no other to advertise the benefits of our modern and dynamic country to the world. We pride ourselves in our great business investment potential and are already home to many international companies. We are also a significant base for the aerospace and defense industries, who are providing high quality equipment and support to our armed services around the world.”
One wonders if Mr Carwyn Jones’ pride extends to those Wales-based firms exporting weapons to the IDF.