UK Under Pressure to Halt £574m Arms Exports to Israel Amid Gaza Crisis

UK faces pressure to stop £574 million in arms exports to Israel amid Gaza humanitarian crisis. Recent attacks on Rafah have claimed 40,000 lives, sparking international criticism and calls for action.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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UK Under Pressure to Halt £574m Arms Exports to Israel Amid Gaza Crisis

UK Under Pressure to Halt £574m Arms Exports to Israel Amid Gaza Crisis

The United Kingdom faces mounting pressure to stop£574 million in arms exportsto Israel as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza intensifies. The calls come in the wake of recent attacks on Rafah that have claimed the lives of 40,000 people, with critics citing breaches of international humanitarian law.

Why this matters: The UK's decision on arms exports to Israel has significant implications for the country's role in promoting international humanitarian law and its responsibility to protect civilians in conflict zones. If the UK fails to halt arms exports, it may be seen as complicit in Israel's actions, potentially damaging its reputation and relationships with other nations.

A US State Department report released on May 10, 2024, has raised concerns about Israel's use of US-supplied weapons in Gaza. The report states that it is "reasonable to assess that defense articles have been used by Israeli security forces since 7 October in instances inconsistent with its international humanitarian law obligations or with established best practices for mitigating civilian harm." While stopping short of recommending a suspension of arms supplies, the report has intensified scrutiny of Israel's military conduct.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated rapidly since the Israeli military ordered hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate central Rafah, signaling a major expansion of operations in the city. Over 150,000 residents have already fled, with many seeking refuge in overcrowded humanitarian zones along the coast. The United Nations has warned that Gaza risks an "epic humanitarian disaster" if Israel launches a full-scale ground operation in Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians, over half of Gaza's population, are sheltering.

The war in Gaza, which began on October 7 with Hamas attacks on Israel that killed over 1,170 people, has claimed the lives of at least 34,943 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue military operations, declaring, "If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone." The White House has renewed its opposition to a full-scale ground operation but says it sees no major operation yet against Rafah.

International pressure on Israel is mounting, with the UN General Assembly voting overwhelmingly to back the Palestinian bid for full UN membership. France has urged Israel to cease its operations in Rafah "without delay," while protests have erupted in the UK, with some venues canceling Eurovision events in protest of Israel's participation. As the death toll soars and the humanitarian crisis deepens,the calls for the UK to halt its arms exportsto Israel grow louder.