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Sunday, October 14, 2007

'Palestinian' challenges arms sales to Israel in British court

And I thought that the Israeli courts had gone crazy with their abandonment of the concepts of standing and justiciability.

A 'Palestinian' man had a hearing before the High Court of Justice in London this week to challenge British government's grant of export licenses for arms sales to Israel.
Saleh Hasan, who claims Israel uses military equipment bought in Britain to repress Palestinians in violation of their human rights, has travelled to London for the case before Mr Justice Collins, expected to last two days.

His counsel, Michael Fordham, QC, told the judge that the issue raised was one of significant and “wide public interest”.

The question for the court was whether it was lawful for the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry “to publish quarterly determinations for export licences for military equipment to Israel without providing adequate reasons to explain how the licence applications were assessed as satisfying relevant decision-making criteria on human rights”.

Mr Fordham said the “highest standards of transparency” were required “in the interests of public accountability and public confidence”.

The judicial review proceedings, which are being contested by the Secretary of State, are backed by Al-Haq, a Palestinian rights organisation.

Mr Fordham emphasised he was not seeking “blanket disclosure of data or licensing information”, adding: “We do not require everything, but we do require intelligible reasons in a context as anxious as this one.”

He told the judge: “It can be done. The only question is whether Your Lordship says it should be done.”
The only questions are how a 'Palestinian' residing in Judea or Samaria or Gaza has standing to challenge British export licenses in a British court and how the British government's foreign policy has become a subject for the courts to review. That's the same kind of challenge that the US Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit threw out in the Corrie case against Caterpillar last month.


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