Blackout Imposed on Israeli Military Aircraft in U.K.

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence is refusing to give any new information about Israeli military aircraft landing in Britain, possibly to protect ministers from prosecution, reports Matt Kennard.

Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom, Grant Shapps. (Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street / Flickr)

By Matt Kennard
Declassified UK

The British government has imposed a block on all information about Israeli military planes landing in the U.K.

Amidst speculation that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers, the new blackout could be intended to protect British ministers from possible prosecution for complicity in war crimes, including defence secretary Grant Shapps.

Kenny MacAskill, Alba MP for East Lothian, asked last week how many Israeli Air Force (IAF) planes had landed and taken off from Britain since Oct. 7.

Shapp’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) responded: “For operational security reasons and as a matter of policy, the MoD does not offer comment or information relating to foreign nations’ military aircraft movements or operations.”

However, this is a new policy. MacAskill had asked the same question in February and the MoD revealed that nine IAF planes had visited the U.K. over the previous four months.

MacAskill told Declassified that the MoD had also now imposed a block on parliamentarians even asking questions about Israeli military operations involving U.K. territory.

When he put down the question he asked in February again last week it was rejected. “Your question has been queried because it is subject to a block by Government,” he was told in a highly unusual move.

MacAskill was advised that the government had updated its policy on April 18 and his question was no longer permissible. This meant the MP, a former Scottish justice secretary, could no longer ask about Israeli planes in the U.K. on military operations.

He was eventually able to ask the question but only about Israeli Air Force operated planes in Britain “on non-military operations”, a proviso that the MoD had not previously required.

Nine Planes Since Oct. 7

The Scottish government says it is no longer allowing Israeli Air Force planes to land at Prestwick International Airport. (M J Richardson / Glasgow Prestwick International Airport / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The latest blackout follows months of the British government trying to cover up its role in the criminal Israeli assault on Gaza.

The MoD had originally refused to provide any information about Israeli military planes in Britain.

But Declassified independently discovered IAF aircraft had landed in Glasgow, Birmingham as well as RAF bases in Suffolk and Oxfordshire since Oct. 7.

After Declassified’s revelations, the U.K. government changed its policy.

The first Israeli flight we discovered departed from Glasgow Prestwick airport on Nov. 18 last year although its arrival does not appear to have been registered.

The flight, numbered IAF680, took off from Scotland just after 1pm and landed in Beersheba, Israel, around 5 hours later.

In the aftermath of Declassified’s story, the Scottish government said it would no longer allow IAF planes to land at Prestwick airport. It said:

“The Israeli Air Force does not and has never used the airport as a base. It has not visited Prestwick since November 2023 and the airport has since taken the independent decision not to conduct further business with the Israeli Air Force.”

Matt Kennard is chief investigator at Declassified UK. He was a fellow and then director at the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London. Follow him on Twitter @kennardmatt

This article is from Declassified UK.

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5 comments for “Blackout Imposed on Israeli Military Aircraft in U.K.

  1. Robert
    May 9, 2024 at 10:12

    Just when I think that I have a grasp on how much influence the tiny country of Israel has on the British and US governments, an article like this comes to the surface. This blackout of data on Israeli military flights is a small matter on its own, but it does inform us how pervasive and widespread Israeli influence is. I’m beginning to think that the amount of money being distributed by Israel lobbying groups is probably 10 X higher than reported.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    May 8, 2024 at 10:19

    The Brits are the same PIGS as the Yanks…that is why they get along so well.

    • Clowney
      May 9, 2024 at 11:02

      for sure — I’m not a yank – I’m a southerner – in the states that’s a huge difference — no more tiny hats… ever

  3. John Smith
    May 8, 2024 at 07:05

    Time to deploy the plane-spotters!

  4. Lois Gagnon
    May 7, 2024 at 22:59

    The power of independent press.

Comments are closed.