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250 UK lawyers: Int'l law being breached in Gaza, UK must call for ceasefire

October 27, 2023 at 5:43 pm

Thousands of protesters march through central London to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people and demand an immediate ceasefire to end the war on Gaza, in London, UK on October 21, 2023 [Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency]

More than 250 British lawyers and professors of law have called on the UK government to press for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying serious breaches of international law are being committed, the Guardian reported today.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Defence Secretary Grant Schapps, they set out their legal advice regarding the situation in Gaza.”The situation in Gaza is catastrophic,” they said, adding: “Gaza’s already fragile health system is on the verge of ceasing to be able to function.”

Condemning the Palestinian resistance’s surprise infiltration of Israeli towns on 7 October, the lawyers said this does not justify Israel’s response.

Israeli forces, they explained, have “repeatedly hit places of worship, United Nations (UN) facilities, bakeries, schools, roads, water treatment facilities and food storage facilities.”

“Human rights groups have also documented the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas. The Israeli army has levelled or damaged over 177,781 homes, reported to constitute 45% of all housing units in Gaza and laid waste to entire neighbourhoods,” they explained, while warning that “International humanitarian law is not being upheld.”

They also highlighted that Amnesty International has said that its “research points to damning evidence of war crimes in Israel’s bombing campaign that must be urgently investigated.”

They called on the UK government to respect and ensure respect of international law, and halt arms exports to Israel “given the clear risk that they might be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law”, while also working towards a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, “including those in the now devastated Gaza Strip.”

READ: Over 300 Muslim councillors demand UK’s Labour Party to call for ceasefire in Gaza