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Lawyers urge UK FM to impose sanctions on Netanyahu and his war cabinet

November 29, 2023 at 2:41 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant attend a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv on October 28, 2023 [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Lawyers have today written to David Cameron asking the UK Foreign Office (FCDO) to apply Magnitsky sanctions against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant, and other members of the war cabinet.

The letter states that sanctions be applied to “members and observers of Israel’s War Cabinet, as Involved Persons (“IPs”), under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020” or Magnitsky, for involvement in war crimes, violations of international humanitarian law, and human rights abuses committed during the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

It adds that since October 2023, attacks coordinated and ordered on Gaza have “directly caused the deaths of an estimated 14,000 individuals, including around 10,000 women and children.”

It cites evidence of indiscriminate attacks that have caused an unprecedented amount of death, injuries, and damage to civilian infrastructure.

“Sanctions against Benjamin Netanyahu are appropriate in his role as leader of the Israeli War Cabinet, which has blockaded the Gaza Strip withholding vital supplies like food, medicine, and fuel,” the lawyers highlight.

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Sue Willman, solicitor, Deighton Pierce Glynn said: “The Magnitsky sanctions regime is a vital tool for the UK to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law. This is an opportunity for the new Foreign Secretary to show that those involved in the gravest human rights violations will be held accountable, as the government promised when they launched the scheme.”

Previously Magnitsky sanctions have been applied to those accused of extreme human rights abuses from Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, North Korea and in 2022 in relation to Vladmir Putin’s supporters.

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) has also asked the FCDO to apply sanctions in the form of a travel ban to stop these ministers from travelling to the UK and freeze any assets they have here on the basis that they are “involved persons” responsible for serious violations of the right to life. Mohamed Jamil of AOHR said: “Netanyahu has turned Gaza from an open-air prison into a mass graveyard where women and children are paying the heaviest price. With over 2 million civilians suffering, it is high time for accountability.”