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Britain should stop arming Israel, says former national security adviser Britain should stop arming Israel, says former national security adviser
(32 minutes later)
Lord Ricketts says further steps needed to put pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu after seven aid workers killed in GazaLord Ricketts says further steps needed to put pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu after seven aid workers killed in Gaza
The UK should stop arming Israel, a former national security adviser has said, after seven international aid workers were killed in Gaza in an Israeli airstrike.The UK should stop arming Israel, a former national security adviser has said, after seven international aid workers were killed in Gaza in an Israeli airstrike.
Lord Ricketts, who was also the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Sometimes in conflict, you get a moment where there’s such global outrage that it crystalises a sense that things can’t go on like this.”Lord Ricketts, who was also the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Sometimes in conflict, you get a moment where there’s such global outrage that it crystalises a sense that things can’t go on like this.”
The seven aid workers, who had been delivering food aid to Gaza, were killed on Tuesday after reportedly being repeatedly targeted by an Israeli drone. Those killed – three British citizens, a Palestinian, a US-Canadian dual citizen, a Pole and an Australian – were working for the World Central Kitchen (WCK), an international charity that has brought hundreds of tonnes of food aid into Gaza. The seven aid workers, who had been delivering food aid to Gaza, were killed on Tuesday after reportedly being repeatedly targeted by an Israeli drone. Those killed – three British citizens, a Palestinian, a US-Canadian dual citizen, a Pole and an Australian – were working for World Central Kitchen (WCK), an international charity that has brought hundreds of tonnes of food aid into Gaza.
Ricketts said the international community “needs to look at further steps to increase the pressure on [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” adding that the UK should stop arming Israel. Ricketts said the international community “needs to look at further steps to increase the pressure on [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu”, adding that the UK should stop arming Israel.
“I think there’s abundant evidence now that Israel hasn’t been taking enough care to fulfil its obligations on the safety of civilians. And a country that gets arms from the UK has to comply with international humanitarian law. That’s a condition of the arms export licence. So honestly, I think the time has come to send that signal.“I think there’s abundant evidence now that Israel hasn’t been taking enough care to fulfil its obligations on the safety of civilians. And a country that gets arms from the UK has to comply with international humanitarian law. That’s a condition of the arms export licence. So honestly, I think the time has come to send that signal.
“It won’t change the course of the war. It would be a powerful political message. And it might just stimulate debate in the US as well, which would be the real gamechanger if the Americans began to think about putting limits restrictions on the use of American weapons in Israel”“It won’t change the course of the war. It would be a powerful political message. And it might just stimulate debate in the US as well, which would be the real gamechanger if the Americans began to think about putting limits restrictions on the use of American weapons in Israel”
Ricketts called for “an immediate ceasefire for an extended period to open up the borders and make it safe to get aid in for those delivering it and those receiving it”, adding this could also help secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.Ricketts called for “an immediate ceasefire for an extended period to open up the borders and make it safe to get aid in for those delivering it and those receiving it”, adding this could also help secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.
The former Conservative Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt also said there was now a higher chance that the UK might suspend arms sales to Israel, telling the BBC’s The World Tonight programme on Tuesday that it would a send a clear signal “that there’s a point beyond which the U.K. simply cannot go”.
The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has called for an urgent investigation into the Israeli airstrike.The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has called for an urgent investigation into the Israeli airstrike.
The seven victims were named by WCK as Britons John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, who were working for the charity’s security team. The team’s leader, Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, an Australian national, also died, along with American-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger, 33, Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, and Palestinian Saif Issam Abu Taha, 25.The seven victims were named by WCK as Britons John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, who were working for the charity’s security team. The team’s leader, Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, an Australian national, also died, along with American-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger, 33, Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, and Palestinian Saif Issam Abu Taha, 25.
On Tuesday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published details of the strike, citing defence sources.On Tuesday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published details of the strike, citing defence sources.
According to the report, an Israeli drone fired three missiles at the convoy of three armoured cars – all of which were clearly marked on the roof and sides with the WCK’s logo – because of a suspicion that an armed militant was travelling with them.According to the report, an Israeli drone fired three missiles at the convoy of three armoured cars – all of which were clearly marked on the roof and sides with the WCK’s logo – because of a suspicion that an armed militant was travelling with them.
Despite the fact that the suspect did not leave a warehouse with the rest of the group, the cars were hit as they travelled back along a route pre-approved and coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the report said.Despite the fact that the suspect did not leave a warehouse with the rest of the group, the cars were hit as they travelled back along a route pre-approved and coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the report said.
A Hermes 450 drone struck one car, causing some of the passengers to abandon it and switch to the other two vehicles. According to Haaretz, the team notified the IDF they had been attacked, but another missile then hit the second car.A Hermes 450 drone struck one car, causing some of the passengers to abandon it and switch to the other two vehicles. According to Haaretz, the team notified the IDF they had been attacked, but another missile then hit the second car.
Passengers in the third car tried to help the wounded, the newspaper said. According to the Guardian’s geolocation of the strikes, the last car was hit by a third missile about a mile farther south.Passengers in the third car tried to help the wounded, the newspaper said. According to the Guardian’s geolocation of the strikes, the last car was hit by a third missile about a mile farther south.
WCK has paused its operations in the region while it decides on future activities.WCK has paused its operations in the region while it decides on future activities.
Lt Gen Herzi Halevi, chief of the general staff of the IDF, said the incident was “a mistake that followed a misidentification –during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened”.Lt Gen Herzi Halevi, chief of the general staff of the IDF, said the incident was “a mistake that followed a misidentification –during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened”.
He added that an independent body would conduct a “thorough investigation” which is to be completed in the coming days.He added that an independent body would conduct a “thorough investigation” which is to be completed in the coming days.
Guardian Newsroom: The unfolding crisis in the Middle EastOn Tuesday 30 April, 7-8.15pm GMT, join Devika Bhat, Peter Beaumont, Emma Graham-Harrison and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad as they discuss the fast-developing crisis in the Middle East. Book tickets here or at theguardian.liveGuardian Newsroom: The unfolding crisis in the Middle EastOn Tuesday 30 April, 7-8.15pm GMT, join Devika Bhat, Peter Beaumont, Emma Graham-Harrison and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad as they discuss the fast-developing crisis in the Middle East. Book tickets here or at theguardian.live
Guardian Newsroom: The unfolding crisis in the Middle EastOn Tuesday 30 April, 7-8.15pm GMT, join Devika Bhat, Peter Beaumont, Emma Graham-Harrison and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad as they discuss the fast-developing crisis in the Middle East. Book tickets here or at theguardian.liveGuardian Newsroom: The unfolding crisis in the Middle EastOn Tuesday 30 April, 7-8.15pm GMT, join Devika Bhat, Peter Beaumont, Emma Graham-Harrison and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad as they discuss the fast-developing crisis in the Middle East. Book tickets here or at theguardian.live