Israel arms sales and ‘ineffective’ government response criticised

  • Post last modified:May 21, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

On Tuesday 21 May the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has released its rapid review on UK aid to Gaza. It has criticised the UK government’s “ineffective” response regarding humanitarian aid. However, ICAI also highlights the fact that the UK has still not suspended arms sales to Israel.

Israel: UK response not fit for purpose

ICAI’s review finds that UK aid to Gaza is still largely blocked from entering Gaza despite efforts to improve access.

The UK aid watchdog has also found that diplomatic efforts have so far been ineffective in securing access to get enough aid into Gaza to address the mounting humanitarian catastrophe, worsening as Israel’s invasion of Rafah progresses.

So far, Israel has killed over 35,500 people in Gaza, mostly women and children. Meanwhile, International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan has submitted his case to ICC judges that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant should face arrest for war crimes. However, there is every possibility countries like the UK could give them diplomatic protection.

As the Southend Echo reported, ICAI chief commissioner Tamsyn Barton said:

While the UK has significantly increased aid to Gaza in response to the crisis it’s clear that very little is reaching those who urgently need it, with restrictions on land access – the only way to move enough aid – increasing and the situation for aid workers increasingly perilous.

She also noted that “the UK and other donors’ diplomatic attempts to improve access and save lives have so far been ineffective shows how fragile the system underpinning international humanitarian law is, confronting a hugely complex crisis such as this”.

Where is the suspension of arms sales?

The ICAI report also notes that the US, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands have all paused arms licenses or shipments to Israel over fears that they may be used in violation of international humanitarian law.

While, at the time of writing, the government has declined to publish their assessment of whether international humanitarian law has been breached but the foreign secretary stated in April that he expected Israel to “abide by international humanitarian law, even when challenged”.

In reaction to the ICAI review Gideon Rabinowitz, director of policy and advocacy at Bond, the network for UK NGOs, said:

The UK’s diplomatic efforts to halt the Rafah offensive and rapidly increase humanitarian assistance in Gaza have been ineffective and ignored. As 1.4 million displaced civilians shelter in Rafah, the UK government must increase pressure and not be afraid to enforce strong diplomatic action to urgently prevent any further assault on Rafah and demand an immediate lasting ceasefire.

The UK must also set out when it will resume funding to UNRWA, and suspend arms sales to Israel for as long as there is a risk they may be used to violate international law.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Source link