Cameron Claims that a UK Restriction on Arms Sales to Israel will Bolster Hamas

According to the foreign secretary, a UK restriction on arms sales to Israel would only make Hamas stronger.

Although Lord Cameron stated that the UK would not follow US intentions to halt some arms sales, he would not back a significant ground offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah.

He added that only 1% of Israel’s armaments are supplied by the UK and that Israel needs to do more to safeguard civilians and permit the delivery of humanitarian goods.

Jonathan Ashworth of Labour stated that he opposed the use of British-made weapons in Rafah.

When US President Joe Biden stated this week that the US would “not supplying the weapons” if Israel carried out its planned invasion of Rafah, the southern Gazan city where over 1.4 million people have been seeking sanctuary, he upended a portion of one of the most important strategic ties in the world.

Over 80,000 Palestinians have reportedly left Rafah since Monday, according to the UN, as Israeli tanks were allegedly gathered near populated areas.

Despite warnings from the US and other partners that a ground invasion might result in a humanitarian crisis and widespread civilian casualties, Israel has stated that it will carry out its planned operations in Rafah.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s prime minister, has promised to disband Hamas brigades that he asserts are stationed near Rafah.

When speaking with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Lord Cameron stated that he would not back an all-out attack on Rafah until he had a chance to see Israel’s “plan to protect people”.

But because it is “a massive state supplier of weaponry,” he contended, the US “is in a totally different position” than the UK.

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When three Britons were killed in an airstrike on relief workers in Gaza, according to Lord Cameron, “a few days later there was a brutal attack by Iran on Israel.” This was the last occasion he had been requested to stop selling arms to Israel.

“Just to simply announce today that we will change our approach on arms exports, it would make Hamas stronger and it would make a hostage deal less likely,” he continues.

Instead, he declared, he wants to concentrate on “hammering away every day” to bring help into Gaza.

The US State Department revealed its probe on Friday, revealing that Israel may have violated international humanitarian law during the Gaza War by using weaponry that were provided by the US.

When asked if he agreed with the conclusions, Lord Cameron responded that Israel’s “performance is not good enough,” claiming that the country “has not had a clean bill of health” when it comes to accepting humanitarian aid.

However, Lord Cameron stated that the UK “has a different approach” and that he was “not really interested in message sending” by political actions such as stopping the sale of arms.

Lord Cameron stated: “I’m interested in what can we do to maximise the British pressure and the outcome that will help people in their lives – including getting the hostages, including British nationals, released.”

He called it “a risk that we should not take” and rejected the notion of British forces stationed in Gaza.

It follows news from the BBC last month that the government was thinking about deploying British troops into Gaza to assist in supplying aid via a different waterway.

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“Aiding crimes against humanity”

Zarah Sultana, a Labour MP, charged that the government was breaking its own regulations by arming Israel.

Sales of firearms are prohibited “if there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” according to the government’s Strategic Export Licencing Criteria.

The amount of weapons sold to Israel, according to Ms. Sultana, “does not matter”.

“We are aiding and abetting what are war crimes happening on a daily basis” she stated to the BBC.

Labour’s stance on Gaza has changed since the Hamas attacks on October 7, which resulted in the kidnapping of 252 people and the deaths of about 1,200 others and a full-scale Israeli military action in the region.

In Gaza, over 35,000 people have died and 78,000 more have been injured since then, the health ministry operated by Hamas in the enclave reports.

Ten Labour frontbenchers resigned from the party last year because it would not support a ceasefire in Gaza, preferring to support a “humanitarian pause” that would have allowed supplies to pour into the nation.

However, once the situation in Gaza “evolved” in February, Labour started advocating for a “immediate ceasefire”.

Senior shadow cabinet member Mr. Ashworth declared he “did not want to see British-made weapons used” in an invasion of Rafah.

“A full-scale offensive into Rafah will be a catastrophe beyond description,” he stated.

He demanded that the administration make available the legal counsel it has received over the sale of weapons to Israel.

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