UK Foreign Secretary Refuses to Ban Arms Sales to Israel Amid Planned Gaza Invasion

UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron refuses to ban arms sales to Israel, citing differing situations with the US. The decision comes amid Israel's planned invasion of Rafah, Gaza, where 1.4 million people are sheltering.

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Bijay Laxmi
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UK Foreign Secretary Refuses to Ban Arms Sales to Israel Amid Planned Gaza Invasion

UK Foreign Secretary Refuses to Ban Arms Sales to Israel Amid Planned Gaza Invasion

UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has refused to ban arms sales to Israel, citing that it would "strengthen Hamas," despite US plans to stop arms sales if Israel mounts a full-scale assault on Rafah, Gaza. Israel has planned to invade Rafah, where approximately 1.4 million people are sheltering, to "complete the job" of wiping out Hamas.

Why this matters: The UK's decision to continue arms sales to Israel amid a planned invasion of Gaza has significant implications for the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region, potentially exacerbating the violence and putting more lives at risk. This development also highlights the differing approaches of Western powers in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which could have far-reaching consequences for regional stability.

In an interview, Lord Cameron warned Israel that it would be "wrong" to launch an all-out offensive in Rafah without a clear plan to protect people's lives.

The Foreign Secretary emphasized the difference between the UK and US situations, noting that the UK provides less than 1% of Israel's weapons, while the US is a massive bulk supplier. "I think America and the UK are in a totally different situation," Lord Cameron said. He argued that imposing an immediate arms embargo would not be a "wise path."

The UK's licensing system allows for the closure of licenses if there is a serious risk of a serious international human rights violation. Lord Cameron has been pushing for a hostage deal and a pause in the fighting to seek a sustainable ceasefire. Hamas has been offered a deal that would release hundreds of prisoners from Israeli jails and provide a pause in the fighting to get desperately-needed aid into Gaza, but they have not taken the deal.

Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth has called for the UK to pause arms sales to Israel, stating, "We should not sell British-made weapons or components that should be used in this Rafah offensive." The US has promised to assist in erecting more makeshift tent camps in Rafah to shelter the 1.4 million people in the area.

As the planned Israeli invasion of Rafah looms, the fate of the 1.4 million people sheltering in the area hangs in the balance. The UK Foreign Secretary's refusal to ban arms sales to Israel, despite US considerations to do so, highlights the differing approaches between the two allies in addressing the escalating conflict in Gaza.