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UK gags MPs from asking questions about alleged arms supply to Israel

November 24, 2023 at 4:49 pm

ZM411 Royal Air Force Airbus A400M Atlas C.1 at RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, England on 6 September 2020 [Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

The British government is refusing to answer questions over whether it is supplying weapons to the Israeli military to conduct its operations in Gaza which bears disturbing hallmarks of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is reported to have enforced an extraordinary blockade on parliamentary questioning about ongoing secret operations in the UK air base in Cyprus, Akrotiri, Declassified UK has revealed. Since the start of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, there has been ongoing speculation over its activity in Cyprus.

It’s claimed that Britain’s Cyprus air base has secretly become an international military hub supporting Israel’s bombing of Gaza, and previously military operations conducted in the Middle East.

Reports by Declassified UK exposed frequent flights between RAF Akrotiri and Tel Aviv since Israel began its latest aggression on Gaza. At least 30 trips have delivered unknown cargo and personnel between Britain’s vast Cyprus installation, located just 40 minutes from Israel. Yet all MP requests for information have hit a dead end.

Read: US rushes to deploy arms to Israel amid ‘textbook genocide’ in Gaza

Blocking all parliamentary questions from MPs is a highly unusual move which is often associated with highly secretive authoritarian regimes.

This week a A400M Atlas military transport aircraft operated by the RAF is reported to have landed in Tel Aviv from Akrotiri. The aircraft can carry 116 soldiers, a Chinook helicopter or a payload of 37 tonnes.

“This is totally unacceptable in a democracy,” Kenny MacAskill MP is reported saying about the government’s refusal to reveal details about its military aircraft flying to Israel. His queries about British operations in Cyprus were dismissed outright. Invoking unnamed “national security” reasons, the Ministry of Defence has now barred any MP scrutiny about its activities in Akrotiri.

A US military source admitted that half of American flights from Akrotiri carry munitions for Israeli forces, which is inflicting unspeakable suffering upon Gaza’s 2.3 million population. Over 14,000 Palestinians have been killed by bombs, some of which are suspected to have been supplied by the UK. Yet the UK government remains evasive about the use of its territory and facilities to sustain war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Read Accused of ‘genocide’ in Gaza and fearing ICC prosecution: US seeks to hide arms deal with Israel

MacAskill told Declassified that he had put down a number of parliamentary questions concerning what military support the UK is providing to Israel and the role of RAF Akrotiri in the supply of military equipment.

“Your question has been queried because it is subject to a block by Government,” he was told in an email. “The Department [Ministry of Defence] has stated that it will not comment on operational matters at this base.”

MacAskill said he had never experienced such a “block” on asking parliamentary questions before. “The failure to call for an immediate ceasefire is bad enough but any complicity raises issues of participating in war crimes. We need openness and transparency by our government. This is not in our name,” MacAskill added.