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More than 130 British MPs, Peers to Gov’t: Ban Arms Sales to ‘Israel’

27 Mar 2024 23:23

Islam Times - Parliamentary pressure is building on the UK government to ban arms sales to apartheid “Israel”, amid signs that the “Israeli” entity intends to ignore the UN security council resolution passed this week calling on all sides to commit to a ceasefire.

A letter signed by more than 130 parliamentarians to the foreign secretary, David Cameron, highlights action taken by other countries, most recently Canada, which last week announced it would halt all arms exports to “Israel”.

The letter, coordinated by the Labour MP Zarah Sultana, was signed by 107 MPs and 27 peers including the former Labour Middle East minister Peter Hain, the Scottish National party’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, the former shadow minister Jess Phillips, the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Conservative peer Nosheena Mobarik.

Other signatories include the former Foreign Office permanent secretary John Kerr and the former Labour minister Tessa Blackstone. A total of 46 Labour MPs have backed the call and almost the entire SNP parliamentary party.

The letter states that “business as usual” for UK arms exports to “Israel” is “totally unacceptable”.

It says UK-made arms are being used in Gaza, noting a recent UN investigation that found an F-16 fighter jet made with UK parts was probably responsible for the bombing of British doctors in Gaza.

In two previous escalations of conflict in Gaza, the letter notes, UK governments have suspended arms sales to “Israel”. “Today,” the letter says, “the scale of violence committed by the ‘Israeli’ military is vastly deadlier, but the UK government has failed to act”.

A growing number of human rights and aid organizations have also called for arms licenses to be suspended, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid, Amnesty International and Islamic Relief.

Sultana said: “With the ‘Israeli’ government now seemingly disregarding the UN security council’s ceasefire resolution, it is again violating international law and making the case for an end to arms sales impossible to ignore.

“The UK government must finally uphold the rights of the Palestinian people, heed this call from 130 cross-party parliamentarians, and immediately end arms sales to ‘Israel’.”

Katie Fallon, the advocacy manager at Campaign Against the Arms Trade, cautioned that the government’s response to an arms sales ban had “ranged from stonewalling MPs, repeating meaningless answers, and most concerningly, going to great lengths to ensure that legal advice from the Foreign Office never definitively admits there is a ‘clear risk’ ‘Israel’ might use these arms exports in a serious violation of international humanitarian law”.

Separately, a request for judicial review is being sought over the UK decision to suspend its funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The challenge has been launched by the Bindmans law firm on behalf of a British-Palestinian man in an attempt to protect his family, who are UNRWA-registered refugees.

The legal challenge stresses that the suspension decision was made illogically and without due consideration of evidence, of international obligations, or of Foreign Office decision-making frameworks.

Story Code: 1125322

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