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UK foreign secretary says ending arms sales to Israel would strengthen Hamas

David Cameron also said sending British people in to deliver aid is a risk they shouldn’t take
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron speaks at the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s annual Easter Banquet, at Mansion House in the City of London, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

Halting arms exports to Israel is “not a wise path” and would only strengthen Hamas, Britain’s foreign secretary said Sunday.

Asked whether the U.K. would follow the U.S. in threatening to cut the supply of offensive weapons to Israel if it carried out an attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the two countries cannot be compared because unlike the U.S., Britain supplies a very small amount of Israel’s weapons.

“The U.K. provides less than 1% of Israel’s weapons and it’s not a state supplier,” Cameron told the BBC on Sunday. “We have a licensing system and those licences can be closed if it’s judged there’s a serious risk of a serious international human rights violation.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has said that his government will stop supplying weapons and artillery to Israel if its forces launch an all-out assault on Rafah, the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party and human rights groups argue that the U.K. should follow a similar position and stop the sale of British-made weapons or components in a Rafah offensive.

The U.S. government said Friday that Israel’s use of U.S.-provided weapons in Gaza likely violated international humanitarian law. But it added that wartime conditions prevented U.S. officials from determining that for certain in specific airstrikes.

Cameron also said that putting British boots on the ground in Gaza as part of international efforts to deliver aid would be “a risk that we shouldn’t take.”

His comments came after reports that U.K. authorities were considering deploying troops to land humanitarian supplies from a temporary pier being built by the U.S. military.

Cameron said that his government’s view was that “actually putting British boots on to the beach was not a good move.” He said that instead, the aid delivery will likely be carried out by a contractor.

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The Associated Press





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