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UK ban on selling arms to Israel would strengthen Hamas, says Cameron

  • By Sam Francis
  • Political journalist, BBC News

Image source, Jeff Overs/BBC

The UK has no intention of copying the US and stopping some arms sales to Israel if it launches a major ground operation in Rafah, according to David Cameron.

The foreign minister told the BBC he did not support Israeli plans for a ground offensive in Rafah, but that ending arms sales would “make Hamas stronger”.

He added that the UK only supplies 1% of Israel’s weapons.

Labor’s Jonathan Ashworth said he did not want British-made weapons used in Rafah.

This week, US President Joe Biden upended part of one of the world’s most important strategic relationships by declaring that the United States “would not provide the weapons” if Israel continued its planned invasion of Rafah, the city ​​in southern Gaza where around 1.4 million people have been sheltered. take shelter.

Israel said it would continue planned operations in Rafah despite warnings from the United States and other allies that a ground offensive could lead to widespread civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to eliminate Hamas battalions that Israel says are based in Rafah.

Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Lord Cameron said he would not support a full-scale offensive on Rafah until a “detailed plan” for how civilians will be protected was provided.

But he argued that the US “is in a totally different position” to the UK because it is “a massive arms supplier to the state”.

Lord Cameron said the last time he was asked to end arms sales to Israel, when three Britons were killed in an airstrike on aid workers in Gaza, “a few days later there had been a brutal attack by Iran against Israel.

“Simply announcing today that we will change our approach to arms exports would make Hamas stronger and make a hostage deal less likely,” he adds.

He said he instead wanted to focus on “day-to-day efforts” to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

He told the BBC he was “not really interested in sending messages” through policy measures such as ending arms sales.

Lord Cameron said: “I am interested in what we can do to maximize British pressure and the outcomes that will help people in their lives – including the release of hostages, including British nationals.”

Jonathan Ashworth, a senior member of Labor’s shadow cabinet, said that if a full-scale offensive on Rafah were to take place he did not “want to see British-made weapons used in that offensive”.

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News Source : www.bbc.com

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