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UK: Jewish group blocks entrance to Foreign Office to demand end to Israeli arms sales

Naamod also called on Britain to reverse its decision to defund UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa
Naa’mod placed tents and banners alongside other Jewish groups calling for a ceasefire and demand an end to arms sales to Israel (Supplied)

A UK Jewish group has blockaded the entrance to Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) to demand that the government send aid to the besieged Gaza Strip instead of sending arms to Israel.

Images posted online showed Naamod placing tents and banners at the entrance of the FCDO that said “no to arms” and “UK Jews say stop arming Israeli war crimes”. 

Among the calls by Naamod include calls on the government to reverse its decision to defund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), which supports millions of Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and regional countries. 

“We're here today because, even as the UN Security Council has come to the belated conclusion that a ceasefire can't wait, the UK gov drags its feet in drawing a line in the sand,” Naamod said on X, formerly Twitter.

“In the face of unimaginable catastrophe in Gaza, we demand that our government follows others and restore funding to Unrwa.

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“Unrwa is the only hope of reaching civilians desperately in need of life-saving aid. Every day the Foreign Office delays, it allows famine to continue.” 

The UK government announced in late January that it was pausing funding to Unrwa in the wake of Israeli allegations that agency staff were involved in the 7 October attacks.

Last week, in a letter to Foreign Secretary David Cameron, over 50 MPs and members of the House of Lords urged the government to reinstate funding for the agency "without delay".

The letter questions what evidence provided the basis for the decision to pause funding and why the UK's allies, including most recently Finland and Germany, have resumed funding while the UK has not.

International law violation

Naamod’s actions come after a Conservative MP admitted that the British government had received legal advice that Israel had breached international humanitarian law. 

War on Gaza: David Cameron must end arms sales to Israel now
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In a leaked recording revealed by the Observer, Alicia Kearns, who is chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, tells donors to the Conservative Party that legal advice acknowledging Israeli forces broke international law meant Britain would need to end arms sales to Israel. 

“The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the government has not announced it,” said Kearns. 

“They have not said it, they haven’t stopped arms exports. They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers and everyone internationally is agreed that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that’s been put in.

“I remain convinced the government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make.”

British MPs have repeatedly called on the government to say whether it believed Israel was complying with international humanitarian law in Gaza, but have received no answers. 

Following the leak, MPs are calling for the government to publish the legal advice they have received, with one calling for Cameron's resignation.

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