Israeli bombing in Gaza
The F-35 jets used in the Gaza bombing by Israel could be delivered from the Cyprus military bases like the Akrotiri military base which was allegedly used by Britain to deliver supplies to Tel Aviv in the first 24 days of the Israel-Hamas war. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Britain is facing the heat for using Cyprus as a military base for delivering arms supplies to Israel as the Israel-Hamas war enters its fourth month this year.

Pro-Palestine activists have picked up from media reports that Britain is supplying arms to Israel for its war against Hamas along the Gaza Strip by using military bases in Cyprus. Hence, many pro-Palestine protesters staged protests in RAF Akrotiri, a Royal Air Force base in Cyprus near Limassol city on Sunday.

This comes at a time when pro-Palestine protesters in London tried to spray red-painted bank notes on the London Stock Exchange to protest against the funding of the Gaza war.

Britain still has two military sites in Cyprus under the 1960 treaty which ended British colonial rule in Cyprus. Akrotiri is one of the two sites and it is being used as a British base in the current Gaza crisis.

The Head of the Cyprus Peace Council Charis Pashias termed the demonstration at Akrotiri as an act of condemning "the transport of arms from the British bases to support the Israeli army's military operations in the Gaza Strip".

Pashias revealed how the UK used the British military base in Akrotiri to fuel the Israel-Palestine conflict since October 7 as the number of daily flights from the Royal Air Force base increased. The Akrotiri military base is 40 minutes by air from Israel's capital Tel Aviv.

According to Pashias, the locals in the area have seen thousands of US soldiers illegally staying in Akrotiri.

Although the UK Ministry of Defence provided some details about the Akrotiri to Israel flight details, the nature of transport and the US activity hasn't been disclosed.

This comes at a time when the UK Defence Ministry has announced the largest UK deployment to NATO to counter global threats like the war in Gaza and Ukraine. Earlier in December, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that Britain is only supplying defence material or material needed to recover the Hamas hostages to Israel.

However, reports from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz showed an increase in arms supply at the Akrotiri military base. According to media reports by Haaretz, 40 US Air Force heavy-transport aircraft landed in Akrotiri in the first 24 days of the Israel-Hamas war.

All of these came from American and NATO depots in Europe. In the same period, the 20 heavy lift aircraft from the UK Royal Air Force had flown into Akrotiri.

British Foreign Policy news website Declassified UK reported that RAF aircraft took off daily from the Akrotiri military base to Tel Aviv from October 13 to October 26 whereas no such RAF flights operated in the region before the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The UK often uses Cyprus military bases to interfere in the affairs of other countries.

A British Liberal Democrat peer of Turkish-Cypriot background Meral Hussein-Ece said that the A400M military transport plane that landed in Nevatim airbase in Israel on December 4 was "unlikely to be delivering humanitarian aid".

Meanwhile, head of the Turkish administration that runs the northern part of Cyprus, Ersin Tatar told the Turkish news agency Anadolu that Britain often used these military bases in Cyprus to interfere in other countries' affairs.

"Because of the bases they acquired in the past, the UK can conduct military operations in these regions as it pleases," said Tatar.

Campaign Against Arms revealed that Israel bombed Gaza with F-35 jets which were jointly produced by the US and UK. Other British and American-produced arms used in the Gaza war included Paveway II guided missiles and M270 rocket launchers.

These arms and equipment flying off Cyprus are carried by C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas military transport aircraft. Most Western militaries use the Globemaster which is their logistics backbone as it has a 77 tonnes load-bearing capacity. They are often used to deliver Abrams tanks and black hawk helicopters.

The Cypriot government is also under pressure to answer whether it knows the use of British military bases in Akrotiri and Dhekelia for housing US-UK electronic intelligence for the Gaza war. The Greek Cypriot government controls the southern part of Cyprus while the Northern part is controlled by the ethnic Turkish government.

In December, the Cypriot Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said that Britain informed them about flights to and from Akrotiri and they were appropriate. Earlier in November, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said that there is no such information regarding Cyprus being used as a war operations base.

Since the British military bases technically lie outside Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot President's response can be seen as not referring to them.

British MP, Kenny MacAskill, who enquired about the Akrotiri military base called it disgraceful as "both UK citizens and a sovereign state are denied information as to what is being done".

MacAskill said: "The use of RAF Akrotiri does seem to allow the UK to deny information and complicity by saying it's the USA. Equally, the USA avoids disclosure by saying it's UK territory."

"It seems clear that supplies ... are being transported to Israel ... when war crimes are being perpetrated by that country," he continued.

Additionally, Pashias added: "Cyprus is neither a US-NATO nor a British aggressive launching pad. We the Cypriot people, do not want our country to be involved in any way in the bloody massacre taking place in the Gaza Strip."