Despite genocide allegations, UK stands firm on Israel weapon sales

Despite genocide allegations, UK stands firm on Israel weapon sales
Fecha de publicación: 
10 April 2024
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The British government has concluded it can keep sending weapons to Israel, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said, rejecting pressure to suspend exports over charges of humanitarian violations and genocide in Gaza.

"On Israel and international humanitarian law, and as required by the UK's robust arms export control regime, I have now reviewed the most recent advice about the situation in Gaza and Israel's conduct of their military campaign," Cameron said on a visit to Washington on Tuesday.

"The latest assessment leaves our position on export licenses unchanged," he told a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"Let me be clear, though, we continue to have grave concerns around the humanitarian access issue in Gaza."

The United States, by far the largest provider of weapons to Israel, has also rejected calls to suspend shipments despite rising frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conduct of the war.

Three Britons and one US-Canadian dual citizen were among seven aid workers for World Central Kitchen who were killed last week in an Israeli strike, which the Israeli military called an accident.

In a recent letter, more than 600 British lawyers, including former Supreme Court judges, said that Britain risked breaching international law by exporting weapons to Israel.

Britain's strategic licensing criteria states that weapons should not be exported when there is a "clear risk" they could be used in international humanitarian law violations.

London has approved weapon sales of over $614 million to Israel since 2015 in so-called single-issue licences, while companies export more under open licences, according to arms control groups.

Another key weapons exporter to Israel, Germany, is facing a case in the International Court of Justice in which Nicaragua says that Berlin is in breach of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention set up after the Holocaust.

Germany said that Nicaragua has "grossly distorted" its record and that support of Israel lay at the core of Berlin's foreign policy.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to do more to prevent starvation crisis in Gaza. Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in the Palestinian territories, said recently there were reasonable grounds to believe Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

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