Legal groups seek immediate halt to UK arms sales to Israel over illegal attacks on Palestinian civilians

Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq and UK based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) announced they have written to the UK Secretary of State for international Trade, Kemi Badenoch, asking for the immediate suspension of all weapon export licences to Israel.


After an attack by Hamas against military and civilian targets, Israel has ordered an indiscriminate aerial bombardment of Gaza killing hundreds of civilians every day. Israel’s Defence Minister Gallant made clear that these are reprisal attacks against civilians as he ordered “a complete siege on Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed, we are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly”. Further statements by officials and spokespersons have led to legal experts suggesting these statements demonstrate genocidal intent to destroy Palestinians as a national group.


Israel has also ordered for the forced displacement of over 1 million Gazans from north to south Gaza which the UN has described to have “devastating humanitarian consequences”. Israel has imposed a comprehensive system of apartheid in occupied Palestinian territory, including the construction of a separation barrier which the ICJ has declared as illegal, Israel constantly monitors the Palestinian population and impedes their movement through checkpoints, it destroys Palestinian property and moves its own population into occupied territory. It is clear that the Israel’s regime violates most of the fundamental human rights of Palestinians.


The UK has been exporting weapons to the Israeli defence force for many years and in recent days has promised major support for Israel’s decimation of Gaza. They have allowed the export of items such as components for the F35 stealth combat aircraft currently being used in the bombardment of Gaza, as well as body armour, military communications equipment, military electronic equipment, components for military radars and targeting equipment’s, naval vessel components and more. However, under the UK Government’s Strategic Licensing Criteria weapons may not be exported where there is a clear risk that they may be used in in violations of international law. These obligations are based on the UK’s obligation under the Arms Trade Treaty. Al Haq and GLAN call for the immediate suspension of export licenses from any British weapons found to be linked to Israel’s breaches of international law. The groups have made clear that failure to do so would result in a judicial review challenge being brought before the High Court.


Dearbhla Minogue, GLAN Senior Lawyer, said: “This challenge was already necessary before the current decimation of Gaza - now it is even more urgent. States like the United Kingdom are emboldening the Israeli government’s brutality - especially when they actually supply them with the means to subjugate and kill Palestinians.” 


Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Director of the Global Legal Action Network said, “The humanitarian situation in Gaza is the result of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity committed over time. Recent statements by Israeli military leaders now obligate states to review their transfer of arms. There should be no doubt that these weapons are at acute risk of being used to commit further criminal acts and, possibly genocide.”


Click here for the article by Al Haq

Click here for the article by GLAN



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