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UK rejects calls to halt arms sales to Israel amid Rafah military operation

May 12, 2024 at 1:13 pm

UK Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, gives a speech in London, United Kingdom on May 09, 2024. [Stringer – Anadolu Agency]

The UK government on Sunday rebuffed calls to follow the US’ lead in halting some arms sales to Israel if it proceeds with a major ground operation in Rafah, the southern Gaza city home to 1.4 million refugees, Anadolu Agency reports.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron, in an interview with the BBC, expressed his opposition to Israel’s plans of an invasion in Rafah but emphasized that ceasing arms sales would “make Hamas stronger.”

He claimed that the UK supplies a mere 1% of Israel’s weaponry, indicating limited leverage in influencing Israeli actions.

Cameron emphasized the need for a comprehensive plan to safeguard civilian lives in the event of any military action.

He underscored the UK’s distinct position from the US, stressing the importance of maintaining diplomatic pressure while prioritizing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

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More than 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas. Vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins besides causing internal displacement, hunger and disease.

So far, Israel is said to have carried out a limited operation around Rafah, taking control of the Palestinian side of the border crossing, a crucial entry point for aid into Gaza.

Israel is also accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in January said it is “plausible” that Tel Aviv is committing genocide in Gaza, ordering it to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

South Africa on Friday asked the ICJ to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah as part of additional emergency measures over the war.

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