Britain has slapped a partial arms embargo on Israel, refusing to supply replacement parts and other equipment for Sa'ar 4.5 gunships because they participated in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Haaretz newspaper reported.
Britain's Foreign Office informed Israel's embassy in London of the sanctions a few days ago. The embassy, in a classified telegram to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, said the decision stemmed from heavy pressure by both members of Parliament and human rights organizations.
Britain reviewed 182 licenses for arms exports to Israel, including 35 for exports to the Israel Navy.
But it ultimately decided to cancel only five licenses, all relating to the Sa'ar 4.5 ships. The licenses in question apparently cover spare parts for the ship's guns.
The British said the embargo was imposed because these ships participated in Operation Cast Lead which claimed lives of 1,400 Palestinians. In so doing, the British claimed, they violated the security agreements between Britain and Israel, which specify what uses may be made of British equipment.
Last week, Britain's foreign and defense ministries informed the relevant companies that they would have to cease their planned arms deals with Israel's navy.
A decision on a partial military embargo was made after Amnesty International published a report on arms sales to Israel in February in which it highlighted use of the British ammunition in the military operations in Gaza.