According to a 5 August 2014 report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1814 Palestinians have been killed during Israel’s latest offensive against Gaza, including at least 1312 civilians, of whom 408 are children. 9536 people have been injured, including 2877 children. 520,000 people may be displaced, staying in emergency shelters or with host families. 65,000 displaced people had their homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair.
Israel’s offensive in Gaza, including the use of explosive weapons, has violated international humanitarian law (IHL). Some of the weapons and military equipment it has used is likely associated with the £7.8 billion worth of licences granted by the UK government. But even in the unlikely situation that they are not, that is not an excuse to continue supplying weapons and military equipment to a country engaged in committing violations of IHL.
The UK government must also address its own accountability in this conflict. It must amend its policies towards Israel to ensure that it is not facilitating the violation of IHL. In this regard, WILPF calls on the UK government to:
- Impose an arms embargo on Israel;
- Review and overhaul its risk assessment and arms export licence procedure to prevent UK arms transfers to countries engaged in IHL and human rights violations;
- Condemn Israel’s use of explosive weapons in populated areas, which has resulted in the deaths of over at least 1300 civilians including in attacks on schools and humanitarian shelters; and
- Speak out strongly against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in all contexts and engage with other states to develop prohibitions and restrictions on such practices.
Read the full letter from WILPF International.