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Friday, June 21, 2024

SNP Lead Debate on Ending UK Arms Sales to Isreal

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The SNP will today (Thursday) lead a debate calling for an end to UK arms sales to Israel – the first dedicated debate on the issue in the House of Commons Chamber since the Israel/Gaza conflict escalated in October and since the ICC applied for arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant and Hamas leaders for war crimes.

Securing the debate, Dundee West SNP MP, Chris Law, said the opportunity to discuss the issue reflected growing concern amongst the public about the scale of British involvement in Gaza, and offers the opportunity to “right a systemic wrong”.

Since 2015, the UK has approved the export of at least £474 million worth of arms to Israeli forces, with further licences recently granted despite ongoing investigations by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court into war crimes committed by both sides in the conflict and the potential genocide of the Palestinian people.   

The UK Government Department of Business and Trade has failed in their obligation to report to Parliament the updated statistics of arms licenses granted since October 2023, indicating a dangerous negligence of their duty and a broken arms licensing system within Westminster. 
 
Today’s debate follows months of pressure over the continued licensing of arms to Israel from the SNP who are demanding the UK join the many countries, including Canada, the Netherlands and Japan, who have already halted their sale of arms in the wake of concerns and investigations into the conduct of the Israeli armed forces in Gaza. 
 
A poll by Yougov, commissioned by Medical Aid for Palestinians and released last week, found that 55% of British people support the UK ending the sale of arms to Israel for the duration of the conflict in Gaza, with just 13% in support of continued arms sales. 

Commenting, Chris Law MP said: 

“Today’s debate is an opportunity for MPs to put their opposition to arms sales to Israel firmly on record while encouraging the UK government to finally step up and right a systemic wrong.

“Continued arms sales have emboldened Israel in their appalling conduct in Gaza which continues to see innocent civilians killed every day. Each time the UK government refuses to act they mark themselves complicit.

“There are very serious questions to be answered by Israel about the scale and severity of their actions in Gaza, and whilst investigations into that conduct are ongoing it is morally indefensible to continue to licence arms. 
 
“More than 100,000 Palestinian children, women and men have been killed or injured since this conflict began – with Gaza now on the brink of extinction. 

“The SNP has been consistent in our demands for an immediate ceasefire in the region and an end to arms sales to Israel and we will continue to stand up for what’s right, and what a majority of the public support.

“The UK government must also follow Ireland, Spain and Norway in recognising Palestine as a state.
 
“In stark contrast, Labour and the Tories have, throughout this conflict, dithered on adding their voice to international efforts to end bloodshed and save innocent lives.

“Now is not the time for deliberation – it’s time to act.”

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