After previously claiming that the UK has “provided surveillance support to Israel”, a Minister has now said that UK surveillance aircraft are “not flying in support of Israel”.

It is understood that British surveillance aircraft are operating in the region to “observe the risk of escalation in the region, to inform decision making in the UK MOD, and for nothing else”.

The perceived contradiction in James Heappey’s statements, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, stems from the differing emphases and contexts of these statements.

In his initial remark, Heappey speaks of the deployment of 12 aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean, highlighting their role in providing surveillance support to Israel, preventing the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups, and aiding regional security and humanitarian efforts in Egypt.

This statement, with its explicit mention of support for Israel, suggests a direct and particular commitment to Israeli interests in the region. The scope of activities mentioned here is broad, ranging from security to humanitarian aid, indicating a multifaceted mission but with a significant focus on Israel.

In contrast, Heappey’s subsequent clarification shifts. He specifies that the Rivet Joint aircraft’s mission is not for direct support of Israel, but to observe the risk of escalation in the region.

This nuanced explanation reframes the UK’s involvement as primarily concerned with broader regional stability and the Ministry of Defence’s internal decision-making. This emphasis on monitoring for regional escalation, as opposed to directly supporting Israel, appears to contrast with the implications of the initial statement.

This seeming contradiction is likely a matter of context and perspective, rather than an actual inconsistency in policy. The purpose of the clarification seems to be to underscore the UK’s wider strategic interests in the region, which include but are not limited to the security of Israel.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also previously worked for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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PaulT
PaulT
1 month ago

And this is why they never used to comment on the uses of this aircraft and it’s predecessors. It’s a very sensitive area!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

Fair enough. Surveillance only. Agree with that.
It’s not as if Israel is a NATO nation or even an ally we have a defence treaty with. They have been distinctly cool towards the UK and if I remember correctly, like France, kept advisors and technicians in Argentina to help the Argentinian air force during the Falklands war, see Dagger aircraft.

Tullzter
Tullzter
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

No one helped the argentinian air force during the war, you should get your facts straight and stop spewing dailymail propaganda

Lazerbenabba
Lazerbenabba
1 month ago
Reply to  Tullzter

No propaganda there….just simple facts.

Tullzter
Tullzter
1 month ago
Reply to  Lazerbenabba

Just by stating that it’s a fact doesn’t make it a fact..facts require proof, and there is no proof that any of the engineers at the time in Argentina, be it French or Israeli have helped the Argentinians. None
also following your logic then you shouldn’t trust the US since they banned you from using their bases to launch attacks on the Falklands…oh wait you shouldn’t also trust….yourselves? since you sold two type 42s to the Argentinian Navy that they then used against you ?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Tullzter

Oh dear. I did follow up with a link, from an Israeli source openly admitting the Israeli aerospace industry continued to support the Argentinian air force with their dagger aircraft and continued to sell arms to Argentina throughout the Falklands war. These are facts, whether you like these facts or not is irrelevant, they are historical fact. George can you please authorise the links I provided to these facts?

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Tullzter

What bases did we require to use from the US? All air missions originated from our carriers or (our) Ascension Island.

DC647
DC647
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

I’m sorry I have to disagree with you, the US didn’t want to get involved because of the possibility of blowback from the south American countries, but I don’t think the UK officially asked. You’re correct about the use of our aircraft carriers and the Ascension islands. Even when the Vulcans where sent down before the fleet it was a pure British enterprise using Victor’s to refuel the Vulcans, making it the world’s longest bombing raid.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  DC647

What are you actually disagreeing with me about?🤔

DC647
DC647
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

My apologies I didn’t mean to write that call it old age or brain fog. I agree with you whole heartily. We retook the Falklands without assistance from the States. If anything they were against us actually trying. I remember the day very well when the task force left some countries and so called allies were against us going.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  DC647

No bother 👍

DC647
DC647
1 month ago
Reply to  Tullzter

I take you are French 😆😅🤣😂

DC647
DC647
1 month ago
Reply to  Tullzter

But France did supply exocet missiles even though they knew a possibility of war between the two countries could happen, in newly released documents.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Tullzter

That’s simply not true. The British governments very own intelligence provided evidence of these facts, the files were opened in 2016 I believe and became open source. If you don’t believe me just Google it. There are literally dozens of files on the internet proving that Israeli technicians remains in Argentina throughout the Falklands war, supported Argentina with its Dagger aircraft and their armaments/ bomb sights.
Israel actually continued to sell bombs. Missiles and cannon armaments to Argentina throughout the war.
Those are facts. Not stating an emotional response to those facts, just that they are true.

Lazerbenabba
Lazerbenabba
1 month ago

A question, why is it considered a problem for the UK to admit that there is real politik and defence agreement with the IDF.
After all thanks to Elbit, IMI etc our chasllenger tanks now have protection from antitank weapons and our aircraft both civilian and military are protected by the relevant warning and counter measure systems.
I would rather have Israel as a Nato member than Erdogan’s Turkey unless of course that some of the commentators here have issues with that nation protecting itself from Iranian proxy entites such the terrorsts of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Lazerbenabba

I’d agree, happy for Israel to join NATO but that would require a lot of negotiation around military action and authorising action. Then there is the issue of NATO article V being triggered next time Hammas or the Hezbollah factions attacked Israel.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
1 month ago
Reply to  Lazerbenabba

Can’t join a NATO with active territorial disputes.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Yet Turkey has invaded Cyprus and pumped in over 100k settlers and remains a member.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Lazerbenabba

It’s interest re Turkey no one seems to mention their occupation of Cyprus and Turkeys pumping over 100,000 sellers into Cyprus since 1974. As with the stateless Kurt’s again completely ignore by some in the political area in the UK.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

As I mentioned before, I understand the UK had/has the lead in the ME area regards UKUSA agreement, then joined by CAN,AUS, NZ. This is/was SOP between the 5 Anglo nations.
I would think these flights are in direct relation to GCHQ NSA’s activities in that area, and nothing whatsoever to do with providing direct support to Israel.
I’m surprised, or maybe I should not be in the least surprised, that a government minister does not understand this, put his foot in it, and was required to clarify.

George
George
1 month ago

It’s almost a case of our government wimps are afraid of showing solidarity with and helping Israel. When that country is being attacked by genocidal islamist maniacs! Supporting a fellow parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage, should be considered a duty. In this case it’s an honour.
Go Israel, Go, go, go the IDF. Show the enemy no mercy!