UK Official slams Western inertia on Israel after 6 months of war

MP Alicia Kearns called on the UK government to suspend arms sales to Israel…reports Asian Lite News

A senior UK official has questioned why it took six months of war and the killing of Western aid workers for a tipping point to be reached over the supply of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

MP Alicia Kearns, chair of the UK foreign affairs committee, told the BBC that Israeli attacks on humanitarian workers are “happening on a daily basis and we are not seeing this outcry when it is about Palestinian volunteers.”

She called on the UK government to suspend arms sales to Israel, adding that ministers have privately admitted Israel is failing to comply with international law despite having the capacity to do so.

Kearns said: “I believe we have no choice but to suspend arms sales and it is important that the public understands this is not a political decision as some people want to present it as.

“Legal advice is advisory so the government can choose to reject it but UK arms export licences require a recipient to comply with international humanitarian law. That is why emergency handbrakes exist in terms of change of circumstances.”

She described US President Joe Biden’s decision this week to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as “frustrating” given that his aides had days earlier played down the impact of a UN ceasefire resolution, describing it as non-binding.

Israel’s military strategy is making it and the world “less safe,” Kearns said, adding that support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is conflated with support for Israel among Conservative Party officials in the UK.

“So many people have said to me ‘why can’t you force Israel to do this?’ Israel is our ally and we do not control them,” she said.

“The phrase we have heard from interlocutor after interlocutor is that Israel is not listening. That does appear to have changed.

“The priority for now is very much making sure for aid to be getting in and that famine must be stopped. There is nothing anti-Israeli, much less antisemitic, in taking a tougher line with the Netanyahu government. The reality is that how Israel prosecutes this war, that is the problem we have. We support their right to self-defence but they are making themselves and us less safe in the way they are doing it.”

Kearns told the BBC that she does not believe Israel’s killing of seven Western aid workers this week was in error.

The vehicles in the convoy were clearly demarcated and their GPS locations had been provided to Israeli military authorities, she added.

Kearns also criticized Israel’s missile attack this week on the Iranian consulate in Damascus as violating international norms.

“We need to be very cautious. The moment we or our allies break these rules, it makes all of us vulnerable. It makes our embassies vulnerable,” she added.

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