Britain will not block arms sales to Israel amid campaign against Gaza: UK’s Cameron

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Britain will not halt arms sales to Israel by British companies having reviewed the latest legal advice on the matter, Foreign Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday.

Six months into the Israeli air and ground campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government has come under heavy pressure to revoke licenses that allow arms exports to Israel.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

“The latest assessment leaves our position on export licenses unchanged. This is consistent with the advice that I and other ministers have received,” Cameron said at press conference with his US counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington.

“And as ever, we will keep the position under review.”

Britain supplied 42 million pounds ($53 million) of arms to Israel in 2022.

Last week three former senior UK judges joined more than 600 members of the British legal profession in calling for the government to halt arms sales to Israel, saying it could make Britain complicit in genocide in Gaza.

Some opposition political parties in Britain have called for the government to recall parliament from its current holiday and revoke the export licenses, and also to publish the legal advice the government has used to reach its position.

“This was yet another missed opportunity from David Cameron to move himself and other UK officials away from their current complicity in Israeli war crimes, apartheid and possible genocide,” said Amnesty International UK’s crisis response manager, Kristyan Benedict.

Israel denies it has committed war crimes or genocide in its assault on Gaza, and has rejected the use of the term apartheid to describe its treatment of Palestinians.

Cameron said Britain continued to have “grave concerns around the humanitarian access issue in Gaza”.

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He defended the decision not to publish the legal advice on arms export licences. He said it was an important principle that ministers act consistently with legal advice without making it public.

“The overall judgement is that those export licences will remain open and continue,” he said.

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