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German Defense Minister Rudolph Scharping confirmed Sunday that his country has temporarily suspended the sale of military equipment to Israel.

"The sale of replacement parts to the Israeli army has been suspended, but not cancelled," Scharping said in an interview granted to the ZDF television network Sunday, and stressed that the action was not an embargo.

"In making the decision, the government means to send a signal in light of the current situation," Scharping added.

Last Wednesday, the German government refused to comment on information released by the Israel Defense Ministry, according to which Berlin suspended the sale of military equipment to Israel several months ago.

Report: Britain puts embargo on arms exports to IsraelThe British newspaper The Guardian cited on Saturday official sources saying that Britain had decided to enforce an unofficial embargo on the export of weapons to Israel, for the first time in 20 years. The embargo will apply to all military equipment that could be used by Israel in the Palestinian territories. The sources stressed that Britain did not declare an official or comprehensive embargo, and government sources prefer to refrain from discussing the weapon deals that have been affected.

A government source in Britain noted that according to government policy, weapons exports to a foreign country are to be stopped if that country uses the weapons for internal oppression, attack another country, or occupy land. British ministers have recently demanded explanations from Israel regarding the use of British equipment against Palestinians in the territories.

The British embargo has mainly political implications, as Britain is not a major arms supplier to Israel. Last year Israel acquired arms costing 12.5 million pounds from Britain, most of it light weapons, although it included some armored personnel carriers and tanks. A government source said that Britain has not publicly declared a change in policy due to internal differences of opinion, including differences among senior government members.