Corbyn project & Zarah Sultana join forces over arms sales

  • Post last modified:March 28, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

The Jeremy Corbyn-founded Peace and Justice Project has joined forces with one of the few remaining decent Labour Party MPs, Zarah Sultana. It’s over Israel‘s ongoing genocide in Gaza and the UK’s complicity in it. Meanwhile, another huge national protest in support of the Palestinian people is on the cards.

March for Palestine

On Saturday 30 March hundreds of thousands of people are expected to demonstrate in London on the 11th National March for Palestine:

Israel’s prolonged and brutal attack on Gaza has killed more than 32 000 people, with thousands more missing as up to 80% of buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Famine is imminent as 1.1 million people, half of Gaza, experience catastrophic food insecurity. Children are already reported to be dying of hunger in northern Gaza.

On Monday 25 March the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including the UK, finally voted for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan. It also urged that Israel lift “all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale.” Israel has rejected the vote, despite it being considered binding under international law.

Stop the War Coalition said of the resolution:

More than anything it is a product of the mass protests and popular disgust at Israel’s genocide around the world. It will take more pressure to make a ceasefire a reality and that is why we must redouble our efforts for this Saturday’s national demonstration.

Yet Israel has continued to bombard Gaza, block aid deliveries and to threaten a ground invasion of Rafah, which will cause further mass casualties among the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians sheltering there. As the Canary‘s James Wright wrote:

After the US failed to again veto the resolution, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a Washington visit by two of his top advisors.

Although the US walked back its position, in contrary to international law, stating that the resolution was non-binding.

The resolution doesn’t go far enough. The Security Council must order a permanent ceasefire along with an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This would help initiate lasting peace in the region.

Stop arming Israel

So, on Wednesday 27 March a cross party group of at least 135 politicians wrote to the foreign secretary and business secretary, saying the case for a suspension of arms export licenses for supplies to Israel is “overwhelming”:

They argue that the ruling of the International Court of Justice that there is plausible evidence of Israel committing genocide in Gaza places a legal duty on the government not to allow arms exports, as there is a clear risk they will be used in breach of international law.

The Peace and Justice Project is supporting Sultana. It said:

The US and the UK could immediately put an end to this war by ending their supply of arms to Israel. We must keep up the pressure and ask our government to suspend all arms exports to Israel as they both violate the latest UN resolution as well as being used in a potential case of genocide as per the ICJ ruling.

It’s encouraging people to write to their MPs – asking them to sign Sultana’s letter. You can do that here.

Keep the pressure up to stop Israel

The rally on 30 March which meets at Russell Square will feature a range of speakers and performances, including actor Khalid Abdalla (star of The Kite Runner and The Crown), the poet Alexei Sayle, singers Reem Kalani, Oscar Jerome, Alexi Murdoch, and Rou Reynolds from the rock band Enter Shikari.

Ben Jamal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign director, said :

Popular pressure is building globally on leaders to take action to end Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The US decision not to block the UNSC vote, and the UK’s decision to back it, are evidence of this. However, the Security Council resolution, whilst welcome, was inadequate, calling for a temporary pause and not a permanent ceasefire.

With hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the brink of famine, and Israel making clear it will ignore the UN, action is needed now to enforce the will of the international community. The clear duty of the UK government is to end its complicity in Israel’s genocide.

An immediate first step, under its own export guidelines, as recognised by 135 MPs and peers, is to suspend export licenses for arms supplies to Israel. This must be followed by a resumption of funding to UNWRA, the Palestinian refugee agency that can prevent famine taking hold in Gaza. Hundreds of thousands will again march on Saturday to press these demands.

The Peace and Justice Project said:

The situation on the ground in Gaza is catastrophic and is getting worse by the day. Despite global calls for peace, innocent lives continue to be lost, and the humanitarian crisis deepens.

Children suffer from malnutrition, and essential aid is obstructed, with clear consensus from aid agencies that land routes are indispensable for sufficient relief. We must redouble our efforts to call for a ceasefire now and for the war not to spread further to Rafah where over 1.4 million people are sheltering for safety with nowhere else to go.

Featured image via the Peace and Justice Project

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