After the Gaza shootings, the UK should stop selling arms to Israel

Scenes from Gaza

Rather than sitting on the fence, British politicians should “take a side” on Gaza.

This week in Gaza, dozens of families are burying their dead. Hundreds of others are caring for wounded friends and relatives. Thousands are washing the remnants of tear gas from their clothes and skin.

When the latest killings started on Monday, I watched in horror as the death toll spiralled upwards – and like many MPs from all parties, I expressed my anger both in Parliament and in public in the following days. In particular, I called for all involved to stop the violence, for an urgent investigation into what happened on Monday, and for Britain to end the arms trade with Israel immediately. These demands don’t seem, to me, to be particularly controversial – yet the backlash has been extraordinary. Many people online have accused me of “siding” with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the government has refused to even engage with the idea of an end to arms sales to Israel, despite the fact that it is breaking its own arms exports control policy.

What dismays me most about these responses is the insinuation that criticism of the actions taken on behalf of Israel’s government was somehow disproportionate, or stemming from a hatred of the country itself. People are quick to accuse politicians of politicising this kind of horrific moment, but the truth is that failing to do so would be a dereliction of our duty as those holding the government to account. I am fully aware that the issues in Gaza are not black and white, that Hamas engages in violent terrorism, that some in Israel feel under attack at every border, but that won’t stop me from making clear who I believe bears the greater responsibility for what, in this case, has happened.

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Source:: New Statesman


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