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UK has ‘humanitarian duty’ to halt arms sales to Israel – Plaid Cymru

10 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Gaza: Photo by Hosny Salah from Pixabay

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP has accused the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary David Cameron of “hiding behind technicalities” amid growing pressure to ban arms exports to Israel.

Demands for arms exports to Israel to be suspended have increased following the killing of seven aid, including three British nationals, in an Israeli air strike last week.

Rishi Sunak told LBC on Wednesday that “none of our closest allies have currently suspended existing arms licenses either” in defence of the UK’s position of continuing to supply arms to Israel.

The Foreign Secretary David Cameron told reporters on Tuesday that continuing to allow arms exports put the UK in line with other “like-minded countries” and reiterated that the UK had a robust legal process for assessing those licences.

The Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP pointed out that Belgium, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain have all announced they would stop shipping weapons to Israel.


The UN Human Rights Council has also backed a ban on weapons sales to Israel, with 28 countries voting in favour, six against and 13 abstentions.

“Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary are deflecting questions about the ongoing sale of arms to Israel by insisting that none of Britain’s closest allies have ‘currently suspended existing arms licenses’, she said.

“They are hiding behind technicalities rather than addressing the horrific bigger picture.

“The reality is that over 30,000 people are dead, and millions are starving. Yet, the UK Government continues to allow the supply of arms, perpetuating the killing.

“Belgium, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain have all announced they would stop shipping weapons to Israel. In Denmark, a court case could result in its government having to suspend the export of F35 fighter jet parts to the US, as the finished jets are sold to Israel.

“The UK Government must not shirk its particular moral and historical responsibility to seek peace in Israel and Palestine. It should have the courage to prioritise its humanitarian duty and immediately halt arms sales to Israel.”

Cabinet split

The debate over whether to suspend arms export licences sparked rumours of a Cabinet split, with Lord Cameron appearing more strident in his criticism of Tel Aviv than some of his colleagues, including Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

Downing Street denied there was any difference between the two men’s public statements, and on Tuesday Lord Cameron reiterated the UK’s support for Israel’s “legitimate right to self-defence to deal with the Hamas threat”.

He also repeated his calls for more aid to flow into Gaza and for the territory to be “deconflicted” to allow that aid to be distributed, warning that more humanitarian workers could be killed if this did not happen.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

If you were appealing to Humanists you might get somewhere Liz…

No point asking those two proud Religionists…

9 years ago Cameron said “faith can give someone a ‘Moral Code'”…

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

There are some members of the usa government that want to suspend the supply of arms to israel.

Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
1 month ago

Plaid wants to throw Israel under the Islamist bus. Shame on them.

1 month ago

Shame on you for wanting death and destruction to continue. Quite a nasty outlook. Your life value on human life is noted

Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
1 month ago
Reply to  Karl

‘….is noted’? What’s that supposed to mean? Sounds like a sinister and thinly veiled threat, Karl ……. whatever your name is, hiding behind your anonymity like a very brave man.

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