Skip to main content

Government ‘making a mockery’ of international law

‘Morally bankrupt’ Sunak doubles down on Israel arms sales

THE GOVERNMENT is “making a mockery” of international law, campaigners charged after Rishi Sunak doubled down on continuing arms sales to Israel. 

Mr Sunak was ridiculed today after he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “needs to do more” to alleviate suffering in Gaza while dodging calls to suspend arms sales to Israel.

Speaking to LBC, the British Prime Minister admitted that the humanitarian situation in Palestine is “dire” but that there had been “no change” in continuing arms sales.

When asked if the government had received fresh advice on arming Israel, after air strikes murdered three British aid workers earlier this month, Mr Sunak said assessments had been “carried out periodically.”

Lindsey German from Stop the War Coalition said that the decision to continue the exports while providing “weak criticism of Israel” demonstrates nothing but “moral bankruptcy and cowardice.”

Mr Sunak’s words were echoed by Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron in Washington on Tuesday as deadly strikes rained down on Gaza before Eid. 

At a press conference with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, Lord Cameron confirmed that “none of our closest allies” has stopped existing export licences.

He said the decision to continue arming Israel was “consistent” with advice received on the matter, which he continues to keep under wraps.

Campaigners have repeatedly called for him to publish the advice, which could find him and the government guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes if warned of breaches to international law. 

Lord Cameron claimed there is a “robust legal process” for assessing the licences.

David Lammy, shadow foreign secretary for Labour, which has so far refrained from calling for an arms embargo, said that Lord Cameron’s refusal to publish the legal advice was “simply not good enough.”

In a leaked recording from a Tory Party fundraiser, foreign affairs select committee chairwoman Alicia Kearns said the party had received legal advice that Israel has broken international law.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary Kate Hudson said that by failing to publish the advice the government is “trying to delay the admission of a scandalous truth: that they are facilitating Israeli war crimes by continuing the flow of arms, equipment, and spare parts.”

According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Britain had licensed arms worth over £442 million to Israel between May 2015 and August 2022.

Some 15 per cent of every F-35 combat aircraft, which Israel uses to bomb Gaza, is made in Britain.

The engine of the drone that was used to kill aid workers this month, was made in Britain by UAV Engines, according to CAAT.

In a statement released today, CAAT said: “Rishi Sunak, David Cameron, and the rest of the government, alongside the UK arms trade, are complicit in these war crimes, and they should face the consequences of this complicity.”

It added that the government is “making a mockery” of the law, ignoring calls by 600 legal experts who signed a letter warning that it risks aiding and abetting international crimes by continuing the exports. 

Campaigners argued that by making the announcement in another country rather than Parliament, Lord Cameron was able to claim, unchallenged, that Britain is acting “consistently” with legal advice without parliamentary scrutiny. 

His statement gives Israel “impunity for the horrific war crimes it has committed,” CAAT says, and “gives Netanyahu the green light to proceed with his planned destruction of Rafah and inflict even more devastating atrocities on the people of Gaza.

“International law provides a foundation for global peace. The world is not made safer by the UK arming Israel.”


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.



Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 8,738
We need:£ 9,262
12 Days remaining
Donate today