Pressure mounts on Sunak as UK judges, experts call for halt in arms sales to Israel

Not just UK, other allies are also under pressure to cut off arms sales to Israel

UK arms sales to Israel UK PM Rishi Sunak | Reuters

After the intelligence experts and three former Supreme Court justices called for the government to halt arms sales to Israel, pressure mounted on the United Kingdom to suspend its sales. Not just the UK, Israel’s other allies are also under pressure to cut off arms supply. 

The UK former judges pointed out that the country risks breaking international law over a "plausible risk of genocide" in Gaza. Even the country's leading intelligence experts echoed the call and urged the UK to persuade Israel, an ally, to change its course of conflict.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the lawyers and judges on Wednesday said the UK could be complicit in grave breaches of international law if it continues to ship weapons. 

The letter said the sale of weapons and weapons systems to Israel falls significantly short of your government's obligations under international law.

Earlier, the UK’s main opposition parties have called for the Conservative government to halt weapons sales to Israel if the country has broken international law in Gaza. 

The UK’s jurists and intelligence experts called for a halt in arms sales after the Israeli strike killed seven aid workers of the World Central Kitchen. Among those dead include three UK aid workers as well. Israel had said that the attack on the aid workers was a mistake caused by misidentification.

Amid tensions, United States President Joe Biden is set to speak with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone on Thursday.

Sunak has not committed to an arms export ban. He said on Wednesday that while of course, we defend Israel's right to defend itself and its people against attacks from Hamas, they have to do that in accordance with international humanitarian law.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 32,000 Palestinians have been killed so far since the Hamas attack on October 7. 

In February, Canada announced it would stop future shipments, and the same month a Dutch court ordered the Netherlands to stop the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel. The Dutch government said it would appeal.

Other countries, including Israel's two biggest arms suppliers, the United States and Germany, continue to allow weapons sales.

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