Caabu Press Release: UK must lead international response to the Israeli invasion of Rafah and impose full arms embargo on Israel

UK must lead international response to the Israeli invasion of Rafah and impose full arms embargo on Israel

7 May 2024

 Following the start of the Israeli ground invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza yesterday, the UK government must lead the international response by pushing to end this aggression that risks a further major loss of Palestinian life, the destruction of one of the last built-up areas of Gaza and the further forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, including refugees. It also risks the lives of the surviving hostages in Gaza.

The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had a choice and he refused to explore the possibility of a ceasefire after Hamas had accepted it. He showed how he has used the whole process to waste time for over three months, rather than engage seriously in bringing an end to the bloodshed and humanitarian catastrophe that most observers view as genocide.

The UK government stated that Rafah should not happen. Israel did not listen, nor did it listen to President Biden who stated that an invasion of Rafah was a “red line.”

The British government must make clear its unequivocal opposition to what Israel is doing. Words will not be enough. Israel has a long record of ignoring statements and only responds to pressure.

Caabu has been clear. There should be an immediate arms embargo on all weapons trade to and from Israel. A failure to do so only deepens the complicity of the British government in Israel’s major violations of international law over the last seven months. It also has to end all negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with Israel and pull the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill which is in committee stage in the Lords, which uniquely gives Israel permanent exemption from any attempt by public bodies to divest from it. The government instead should be encouraging divestment from Israel’s weapons industry in particular. 

 The British government should also sanction all Israeli leaders who have made genocidal comments against Palestinians in Gaza. (See here for examples) The latest of many examples of this is Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich: “Moments before redemption, we must not hesitate. We must destroy Rafah, Nusseirat, & Dir al-Balah 'wipe out the memory of Amalek! …There's no half- measure. Rafah, Dir al-Balah Nusseirat absolute destruction!” The ICJ had ordered Israel to investigate and punish such genocidal comments but it has failed to do so.

Commenting on this in the media, Chris Doyle Caabu’s Director said that: “The British government has to end this business-as-usual approach immediately. An arms embargo is part of that, but the bare minimum given the scale of atrocities Israel has been committing. It must make clear also that it fully backs all judicial processes to hold all parties to account including Israel and Hamas. This means backing the independent work of both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice but also sanctioning Israeli figures who have made genocidal comments. The UK should also be defending the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan, who is a British citizen from attacks including by 12 US Republican Senators.”

Above all Britain must work to end the Israeli onslaught and not just restore life-saving aid deliveries into Gaza but ensure that they are the right scale to meet the needs of a population that is facing famine as part of Israel’s genocidal actions.




Notes to editors: 

1.       For more information or interviews contact Chris Doyle on +44 (0)7968 040281