Brit MPs push govt to block arms sales to Israel

London-based charity Human Aid and Advocacy unfurl a billboard calling for a boycott of UK trade with Israel.

Over 100 British MPs signed a letter on March 27 calling for the government to cease arms sales to Israel as over 30,000 have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of October, The Guardian reported. 

The British government notes on their website that since 2008, they have licensed arms worth £574 million to Israel, a long time UK ally in the Middle East. 

The letter, written by Labour MP Zarah Sultana and addressed to Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch and Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, was signed by 135 parliamentarians and members of the House of Lords from all political parties. 

The letter read, “The case for this (an arms embargo) is overwhelming. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s assault, 70% women and children. Israeli bombing has destroyed or severely damaged up to 80% of civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools and sanitation facilities. Famine is now imminent in northern Gaza, with children already dying of hunger.  

The United Nations Secretary-GeneralAmnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch and others have said that Israel has committed grave violations of international law in this assault. The International Court of Justice has said that Israel’s assault is ‘plausibly’ in breach of the Genocide Convention.” 

READ: UN rights expert calls for Israel arms embargo

Notable signatories were ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and political veteran Diane Abbott. 

Corbyn has historically campaigned for the rights of Palestinians which led to accusations from many within the party and the governing Conservatives of antisemitism when in the hotseat. The socialist was purged from the Labour Party by current leader Sir Keir Starmer shortly after the latter became head in early 2020 as left-wing commentators and media outlets have raised concerns that the party has seen a drastic shift to the right. 

Prior to signing the letter Mr Corbyn commented on the UN ceasefire vote on March 25, writing, “The UN Security Council has finally voted for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. It must be implemented, now. It is a stain on humanity that it took the deaths of more than 30,000 people to bring this about. We will continue to campaign for peace, justice, and a free Palestine.” 

He also congratulated Sultana for writing the letter and “pressuring the government” to “take action” on the crisis in Gaza. 

Badenoch and Lord Cameron have yet to respond to the letter. 

The Guardian

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