As casualties in Gaza rise above 230 (including at least 65 children) due to the Israeli aggression that began on 10 May, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) strongly condemns the most recent statement on the situation by British Minister for the Middle East, James Cleverly.
In the House of Commons on Wednesday (19 May), Cleverly said, “We strongly condemn these acts of terrorism by Hamas and other terrorist groups who must permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. There is no justification for the targeting of civilians.”
“Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence and to defend its citizens from attack”, Cleverly added. “In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with international humanitarian law and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.”
Yet Israeli’s actions are massively disproportionate, involving the aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of Gaza – one of the most-densely populated places on the planet – including residential areas. The large majority of those killed and injured are civilians; their killing serves no purpose except to terrorise the people of Gaza and wider Palestine.
Moreover, Gaza has been kept under continuous blockade by Israel and its regional allies (mainly Egypt) for over a decade. Even Covid-19 vaccinations have been prevented from entering Gaza, at the same moment that Israel’s vaccination program was being celebrated internationally.
Britain is a long-time, staunch ally of Israel. Its basic position is that this allyship “promote[s] Britain’s security, prosperity and well-being, and regional peace, through partnership with Israel.” Britain does not appear to have been party to France’s drafting yesterday of a ceasefire resolution at the UN Security Council. John himself would not answer direct questions in the Commons over whether arms made in Britain are currently being used against Gazans.
AOHR UK affirms its objection to Cleverly’s remarks, and more generally to the position of the British government in regards the current events in Palestine. AOHR UK calls for the latter to take active measures to stop Israeli aggression against Gaza, and to cease supplying the arms used by Israel to kill civilians.’