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Ex-UK National Security Adviser criticises govt for failing to suspend arms sales to Israel before the US

May 8, 2024 at 8:08 pm

Members of Amnesty International and Oxfam in front of the Parliament of Navarra, Spain gathered to demand an end to the massive shipment of weapons to Israel from countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark on 04 May 2024 [Elsa A Bravo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

A former British National Security Adviser has criticised the government and its Prime Minister for failing to suspend arms sales to Israel before the United States did, amid Whitehall’s continued stubbornness in refusing to suspend its military assistance to the Occupation state.

According to The Independent newspaper, Lord Ricketts – former British diplomat and national security adviser – reiterated this week that the government should suspend arms sales to Israel and that it was “a pity the government could not have taken a stand on this and got out ahead of the US”.

Following increasing concerns regarding Israel’s plans to launch a full-scale assault on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, the US’s administration under President Joe Biden halted a major shipment of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs scheduled for transferral to Israeli forces.

READ: Battles rage around Rafah after US halts some weapons to Israel

Although a senior US official has said that a final decision on the shipment’s fate had not yet been made, halting it was a significant move of protest by the Biden administration against Israel’s invasion of Rafah and its killing of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in the besieged Strip.

“That remains the step I think the UK should take,” Lord Ricketts said, stressing the need to be at the forefront of holding to account such war crimes and human rights violations by Tel Aviv.

His comments come at a time when the government under British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is increasingly facing mounting criticism and pressure from within its own ruling Conservative party to cut military assistance to Israel over its ongoing offensive on Gaza.

According to the paper, other figures have echoed the calls to halt arms supplies such as former cabinet minister and Tory MP, David Jones, who told it that “We should give similar consideration to a pause. Anyone viewing the distressing scenes in Gaza will want to see an end to the fighting. Hamas is in reality beaten. Now is the time for diplomacy to bring this dreadful conflict to an end”.

Mark Logan, Tory MP and a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Work and Pensions, also stated that the UK “should have no part in an offensive in Rafah”.