The British government is “complicit in the violence” suffered by the Palestinians because it continues to support arms sales to Israel, a UK-based anti-poverty charity has said.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A London-based charity has said the British government is “complicit in the violence” perpetrated against Palestinians as it continues to provide arms to Israel.
British charity War on Want made the comment in an interview with The Independent on Monday, denouncing a recent move by the UK government to abstain from a United Nations vote on Israeli violence in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The vote condemned Israel’s “use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against peaceful Palestinian protesters.
“In abstaining from this vote, the UK government has yet again refused to commit to the protection of Palestinians’ human rights as they are targeted with the brutal and unlawful use of force by the Israeli military,” Ryvka Barnard, senior campaigns officer for War on Want, told the British newspaper.
“But make no mistake, the UK is not sitting aside and remaining neutral. While the world calls for violent attacks on Palestinians to end, the UK government continues to approve arms exports to Israel, making it complicit in the violence,” she added.
The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution last month with 120 votes in favor, eight against and 45 abstentions, including Britain, Switzerland and Germany.
The resolution condemned the “use of live ammunition against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel and journalists” and underscored its “grave concern at the loss of innocent lives.”
The UN convened a special meeting after more than 100 Gazans were killed by Israeli snipers in six weeks of protests dubbed the "Great March of Return," which began on March 30 and climaxed on May 15, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), when Israel was created.
The UK said it "could not support a resolution that was partial and imbalanced. Such investigations heightened the risk on both sides," calling on Israel to conduct its own independent inquiry into the atrocities instead.
Tens of thousands of people have been protesting along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied territories, calling for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to their homes now inside Israel. Israeli forces killed at least 62 Gazans in a single day of protests that coincided with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14.
Stressing that the use of lethal force may constitute war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Wednesday that the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in the Gaza protests were unarmed.
The New York-based rights group said eyewitnesses reported seeing Palestinians shot from a great distance from border fences without posing any immediate threat to Israeli troops.
Britain has sold record amounts of weapons to Israel over the past year, new data shows, prompting backlash from human rights groups amid the Tel Aviv regime’s ongoing crackdown of Palestinian protesters.
Last year, the government of Prime Minister Theresa May granted £221 million worth of arms licenses to military contractors exporting to Israel, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) revealed Saturday.
That is almost 3 times the previous year’s figure of £86 million and a significant increase from the £20 million in arms licenses in 2015.
The UK has also ignored international calls to halt its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia over the course of its deadly war against Yemen, which began in 2015 and has put the poverty-stricken country on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.
London views arms deals with Israel and Middle Eastern countries as one of the main pillars of its economy after it quits the European Union in 2019.