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International aid charities plead with UK Government to stop arms sales in Gaza conflict


Christian Aid, Global Justice Now, Oxfam and War on Want published an open letter to Rishi Sunak and David Cameron. 

Global aid charities have joined forces to call for a ceasefire in the conflict in Gaza, putting pressure on the UK Government to take action. 

Christian Aid, Global Justice Now, Oxfam and War on Want published an open letter in the Times newspaper on Wednesday. 

Writing to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, the groups said there must be “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and halt arms to Israel and Palestinian armed groups”. 

They added that until the UK Government calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and suspends arms sales to Israel, “it is complicit in the slaughter of innocent civilians” taking place daily in Gaza.

Israel’s military response to the 7 October attacks by Hamas and other armed groups which included atrocious killing of civilians and hostage-taking has killed more than 26,000 people in Gaza, the majority of whom are women and children. 1.9million people have also been forced from their homes.

The charities said they have grave concerns about “the use of arms supplied by the UK to Israel, in a potential breach of international humanitarian law”.

Writing in the newspaper, they said: “While the horror continues and the deaths mount, your Government has continually abstained from UN votes for a ceasefire. Without a permanent ceasefire, there can be no comprehensive humanitarian response to the devastation in Gaza. While rightly condemning the unlawful attacks of Hamas you have failed to condemn Israel for the mass killing of civilians, it’s complete siege on Gaza or the denial of humanitarian access which is leading to the starvation of the population and a rapidly worsening health emergency. 

“The cycles of violence will not end, and innocent people on both sides will continue to pay, until Palestinians and Israelis are treated as equals and the illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is ended. The UK public have consistently and overwhelmingly supported a ceasefire, with more than 7 in 10 in favour according to recent polling, while fewer than 1 in 5 approve of the government’s handling of the conflict.”

The calls come after the International Court of Justice issued a preliminary ruling finding that the claims in South Africa's filing - accusing Israel of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against Palestinians in Gaza - were “plausible”. 

The court issued an order to Israel requiring them to take all measures within their power to prevent acts of genocide and to allow basic humanitarian services into Gaza. 

The letter adds: “We urge you to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and halt arms to Israel and Palestinian armed groups while there is a risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

“The UK Government must insist that Israel abides by the provisional measures indicated by the ICJ’s ruling: a ceasefire was needed yesterday to stop the slaughter of civilians in Gaza.”



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