Jeremy Corbyn demands to know the nature of Britain’s ‘military relationship’ with Israel as conflict with Palestinians in the region escalates
- Jeremy Corbyn asked about the ‘nature’ of UK ‘military relationship’ with Israel
- He said images of ‘death, destruction and loss of life’ in the region ‘are horrific’
- Israeli aerial bombardments of Gaza have killed 227 people in the 10-day conflict while rocket attacks by militant group Hamas have killed 12 people in Israel
Jeremy Corbyn has demanded to know the nature of Britain’s ‘military relationship’ with Israel and whether any weapons sold by the UK have been used ‘to bomb places in Gaza’.
Israeli aerial bombardments of Gaza have killed 227 people in the 10-day conflict while rocket attacks by militant group Hamas have killed 12 people in Israel.
Hamas began firing rockets on May 10 in retaliation for what it said were Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem and following Israeli police clashes with worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is ‘determined’ to continue the operation in Gaza until his objectives had been met, shrugging off U.S. President Joe Biden’s demand to de-escalate hostilities.
As the conflict in the Middle East escalates, former Labour leader Mr Corbyn today brought up the nature of ‘Britain’s military relationship with Israel’ in the House of Commons.
Appearing remotely, Mr Corbyn said: ‘The images of death, destruction and loss of life all over the region are horrific. The targeted bombing that has taken place on buildings in Gaza, the tanks of the West Bank and the destruction of educational and health facilities is absolutely appalling.
He asked Foreign Office minister James Cleverly: ‘Could the minister explain exactly what is the nature of Britain’s military relationship with Israel, what is the nature of that cooperation with Israel.
‘And can he tell the House if any weapons sold by Britain or munitions sold by Britain to Israel have been used to bomb places in Gaza?
‘Or if any drone equipment supplied or bought by Britain has been used as a surveillance method on either the West Bank or Gaza, that has been followed up by destruction of civilian life and the death of many people?’
Mr Cleverly replied: ‘The UK has a robust arms export licensing regime and all export licences are assessed in accordance with it.’
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who is of British-Palestinian descent, had told the Commons 63 Palestinian children have died in Gaza before telling the Commons: ‘My heart was broken before, it’s shattered now.
‘We need a ceasefire and the UK shouldn’t have left it to France to be the main sponsor of a UN resolution calling for it. This Government is shirking its historic responsibility and it’s time to step up.’
An Israeli artillery unit fires shells towards targets in Gaza Strip, at the Israeli Gaza border, Wednesday, May 19, 2021
At least six people died in airstrikes in Gaza Wednesday as international pressure for a ceasefire grew
Relatives of Palestinian Mahmoud Shtawi, 19, mourn during his funeral on Wednesday in Gaza City after he was killed in an Israeli air strike
Labour’s Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, added: ‘How many Palestinian children have to be killed, how many more Palestinian homes have to be reduced to rubble, how many more Palestinian schools and hospitals have to be bombed before the British Government takes the action necessary to finally force the Israeli government to stop its war on the Palestinian people?
‘Surely now is the time for all UK weapons sales to Israel to be stopped. Surely now is the time for sanctions on the Israeli government for its repeated violations of international law. Surely now is the time – this House voted for it back in 2014 – to recognise the state of Palestine because Palestine has the right to exist.’
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu today insisted Israel would push ahead ‘to return the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel.’
He said he was ‘determined to continue this operation until its aim is met’ in a sign of a growing rift between the U.S. and Israel.
Mr Netanyahu has so far refused to consider a truce, saying Israel was fighting to restore peace and maximize the chances that a ceasefire with Hamas would hold.
‘There are only two ways that you can deal with them (Hamas): You can either conquer them, and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don’t rule out anything,’ Netanyahu told foreign ambassadors in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
He added the offensive would end when it had achieved its aims.
‘We’re not standing with a stopwatch,’ he said in remarks reported by Israeli media from a closed question-and-answer session.
‘We are taking care of the operation’s objectives.’
Fighting began May 10 when Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint site sacred to Jews and Muslims.
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