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Starmer calls on Israel to stop Rafah bloodbath

LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu to “stop” in the face of horrific scenes emerging from Rafah in Gaza. 

Seven months after the Israeli military restarted its assault of one of the most densely packed populations on Earth, the Rafah bombardment – in defiance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – and the sight of children being burned alive prompted a protest from the Labour leader.

Over a million people fled to Rafah to escape earlier Israeli attacks elsewhere in Gaza, only to be slaughtered in their makeshift shelters in what UN special rapporteur on the right to housing Balakrishnan Rajagopal branded “a monstrous atrocity.”

Asked what his message to the Israeli premier would be, the Labour leader said: “Stop.

“Those scenes, those reports, are horrifying and what makes it worse was this was a safe zone with women and children and families that have already fled a number of times.

“It’s horrifying to see that.”

But Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “Even now, despite the genocidal attacks we have all seen, Keir Starmer and his front bench colleagues refuse to support an arms embargo. 

“The arms sales must stop, the ICC’s ruling must be enforced, and the state of Palestine must be given full recognition immediately.

“How many more children will be killed before Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer finally end their complicity?” 

SNP support for the ICC ruling has also been called into question.

After being emailed by Show Israel the Red Card (SITRC) activists days before Scottish footballers are due to play Israel behind closed doors in Glasgow, SNP MSP John Mason claimed the ICC was “biased against Israel” and that Israel has “better human rights standards ... than many other countries.”

Calling the comments “deeply alarming,” Maree Shepherd of SITRC said it “greatly hampers the chance of bringing peace and holding to account those guilty of war crimes.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “The ICC is scrupulously independent and fair.”

Protesters will gather for an emergency protest outside Downing Street in London today at 6pm. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “It is now more important than ever that we come together to demand that our government ends its complicity with this genocide.

“The UK must force Israel to adhere to the ICJ ruling to cease its assault on Rafah and stop all arms sales to Israel.”

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