Minister says Israel leaving allies ‘challenged’ on international law obligations in Gaza

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Minister says Israel leaving allies ‘challenged’ on international law obligations in Gaza

The UK's Middle East minister Lord Ahmad confirmed foreign secretary David Cameron would be receiving new advice on whether UK arms were used during Israeli attacks that hit aid workers

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Lord Ahmad at foreign affairs select committee hearing
Lord Ahmad at foreign affairs select committee hearing

The UK’s Middle East minister Lord Ahmad has told a parliamentary committee that Israel is leaving this country and other allies “pretty challenged” on whether it is fulfilling its obligations around international humanitarian law in Gaza.

Responding to questions at a session of  the foreign affairs select committee, the Conservative peer also confirmed foreign secretary David Cameron would be receiving new advice on whether UK arms were used during Israeli attacks that hit British aid workers with Medical Aid for Palestinians in January and World Central Kitchen in April.

Asked if “Israel’s activities has demonstrated a commitment to respect for IHL”, Ahmad said: “What is very clear to me, the challenges are intense and immense on international humanitarian law.

“I think Israel is really leaving many of its partners, including ourselves, pretty challenged on where we are currently on the issue of international humanitarian law, and how they are fulfilling their obligations.”

At a session chaired by Alicia Kearns MP, the minister cautioned against suggesting Israel was using food as a weapon of war, but he accepted that there was a failure to allow aid, food and medicines to get through.

Ahmad stressed that UK officials were looking closely at the way Israel was continuing with military action in Rafah.

He said: “Our own assessment is that the operation in Rafah compared to what happened in Gaza City or Khan Younis has not been not on the same scale as those operations.”

Ahmad admitted: “There is no plan. Israel has not shown us a credible plan. You get a leaflet in the morning that says you must move by the afternoon. It is a pretty stark choice.”

The minister also hit back at arguments suggesting that because the UK’s arms sale supplies to Israel were small, the obligations to ensure humanitarian law was applied was less critical. 

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