The UK government could be complicit in war crimes in Gaza if it does not do more to “rein” Israel, a senior Tory MP has warned.
Former parliamentary foreign affairs committee chairman Crispin Blunt has written to Rishi Sunak, warning that his “apparently unconditional support for the Israeli government’s policies” has put the UK in “legal jeopardy”. .
The Palestinian International Justice Center, co-chaired by Blunt, issued a notice of intent to prosecute British officials, saying there was “clear evidence that Israel has committed war crimes.”
This comes after Israel ordered 1.2 million people living in the northern Gaza Strip to leave their homes immediately in preparation for a military operation.
Gaza authorities say 1,900 Palestinians, including 583 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks over the past week and a full-scale ground invasion is expected.
Israel also blocked the flow of goods into Gaza and cut off power to populated areas.
Some 1,300 people were killed in Israel last week after Hamas militants broke through a barrier set up around the Gaza Strip and returned with more than 100 hostages. Israel says it is defending itself and following international law.
Mr Blunt becomes the second prominent Conservative MP to raise the alarm on the issue after Alicia Kearns, the current Foreign Affairs Committee chair, said the UK should “get tough on our friends”. .
“International law cannot be turned on and off, there is a law of proportionality,” she told Newsagent’s podcast, adding that this country has the right to defend itself, but within international rules. he emphasized.
Mr Sunak said Britain had its full support for Israel, and on Thursday night announced it had sent Royal Air Force surveillance planes and Royal Navy ships to the area.
Downing Street has called on Israel to “protect ordinary Palestinians”, but senior government officials, including Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, support Israel’s order for Palestinians to leave the territory.
The United Nations says large-scale relocation of the population is not possible “without catastrophic humanitarian consequences.”
Speaking on Sky News on Saturday morning, Mr Brunt said: “If you know that a party is about to commit a war crime, and this forced removal is a violation of the very law of international law and one of the statutes that governs all nations,” you can be complicit in this area. This means that ”
“And as international law develops in this area, the fact of being an accomplice makes you equally culpable as the perpetrator of the crime.”
In his letter to Sunak, Mr Blunt said the UK could prevent further legal action by issuing a public statement condemning Israel’s breaches of international law, and urged the prime minister to “complain of war crimes in Gaza. We have requested that the government officials who promoted the act retract their statements.” In public”.
The letter also says the government should call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the siege of the territory to allow humanitarian access.
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said on Friday that Israel had “overreached” in its retaliatory attacks on Gaza and that people “who have nothing to do with Hamas” were “paying an extraordinary price” for Hamas attacks. Ta.
“No one has said that Israel does not have the right to protect itself from terrorism. We have all said that, including myself, but collective punishment cannot be justified.”
Labor leader Keir Starmer defended Israel’s right to cut off water and electricity supplies to Gaza, telling LBC radio: This is an ongoing situation and obviously everything should be done within the bounds of international law, but I do not want to deviate from the basic principle that Israel has the right to defend itself. ”
“We are carrying out military operations in accordance with the rules of international law, no doubt about it,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said at a press conference on Friday.
“The whole country is to blame. This rhetoric about civilians is not true. [being] Not aware, not involved. That’s absolutely not true.
“They could have stood up and fought against the evil regime that occupied Gaza in a coup.
“But we’re at war, we’re defending our homes, we’re defending our homes, that’s the truth, and when a country defends its homes, it fights, and we’re defending our homes. I will fight until I break his spine.”
“Israel has suffered an astonishingly brutal terrorist attack and Hamas alone bears responsibility for this conflict,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Saturday.
“We support Israel’s right to defend itself and take action against terrorism. Unlike Hamas, Israeli President Herzog said the military will act in accordance with international law.
“Given Hamas’ infiltration of civilian populations in the Gaza Strip, it is important that Israel takes all possible steps to protect ordinary Palestinians and facilitate humanitarian assistance.”