British Diplomatic Efforts in the Gaza Crisis: Contradictory and Confusing

The majority of Britons support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, contrasting the UK government’s steadfast backing of Israel throughout the Gaza conflict, seemingly overlooking Palestinian casualties. Since the conflict’s commencement on October 7, the British authorities’ stance has been markedly inconsistent. While Rishi Sunak advocates support for Israel against Hamas, government officials simultaneously denounce civilian casualties in Gaza and urge Israel to prioritise civilian lives. This article delves into British diplomatic efforts in the Gaza crisis, scrutinising the UK government’s conflicting positions in addressing the war in Gaza.

The UK is subject to the International Criminal Court

Rishi Sunak’s government officials stated that British diplomatic efforts during the Gaza crisis adhered to international laws. The Prime Minister underscored his nation’s support for the International Criminal Court, stressing Israel’s obligation to uphold international humanitarian law in Gaza. Responding to a Conservative Party representative’s inquiry regarding Britain’s stance on the International Criminal Court’s investigation into the Gaza conflict, Sunak affirmed his government’s consistent emphasis on respecting international humanitarian law. Additionally, Sunak mentioned that during discussions with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, he highlighted the importance for all parties to take measures to prevent civilian casualties.

Rishi Sunak’s lack of support for a lasting ceasefire

According to the Gaza health authorities, since the beginning of the Hamas attack on Israel, a large number of civilians have been killed and injured. Claiming that an immediate ceasefire would embolden Hamas, Rishi Sunak supported what he called a permanent ceasefire on the condition that Hamas’s rocket attacks stop and Israeli prisoners are released. However, he is under increasing pressure from public opinion and especially the senior representatives of the ruling party to support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and help end the humanitarian crisis in this area by correcting the British position towards the developments in Palestine.

British defence secretary admits to killing civilians in Gaza

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, in a conversation with BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg said in response to a question about whether Israel’s actions were proportionate or not, Britain strongly believes that Israel should act according to international humanitarian law and added that the sad reality of war is that people lose their lives. Shapps continued this question by saying that if Britain had been attacked and we knew where those terrorists had gone, no one would have said don’t go after them. He said that how can we ask Israel not to go after them and destroy their fortifications?

The UK government abstained from establishing a ceasefire in Gaza

The last meeting of the British Parliament and the government for the Prime Minister to answer the questions of the representatives this year was held with the attacks of party officials. The UK government’s refusal to request a cease-fire in Gaza at the United Nations caused a reaction in the Parliament. Stephen Flynn, the leader of the representatives of the Scottish National Party, whose party’s plan to request a ceasefire in Gaza is facing the opposition of most of the parliamentarians, said: “An estimated 1400 more children will die between now and Christmas Day if Israeli actions continue.”

Rishi Sunak’s contradictory stance on the ceasefire

At a recent UN meeting, several British allies, such as France, Canada, Spain, and Australia, joined 149 other countries and called for a ceasefire in Gaza. Still, Britain, in a surprising move, abstained. In response, Rishi Sunak expressed regret for the situation in Gaza but still refused to agree to the request for a ceasefire. Sunak added: “It’s clear that too many civilian lives have been lost. And that’s why we’ve been consistent in calling for a sustainable ceasefire, whereby hostages are released, and rockets stop being fired into Israel by Hamas. We continue to get more aid.”

Members of Parliament criticised the negligence of Rishi Sunak’s government.

Claudia Webbe, a representative of Parliament, has announced that since Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, we will submit a complaint to the International Criminal Court. Webbe called for London to play a more active role in stopping the war in Gaza. According to this member of the Parliament, the vast majority of the country’s society wants to stop the war and cease-fire in Gaza. Still, the political authorities have not yet responded to this request.

Removal of Conservative MP for supporting a lasting ceasefire

Paul Bristow, a British conservative representative, was recently removed from his position as a ministerial aide at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. These developments occurred a few days after he wrote a letter to Rishi Sunak asking for a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance forces. A spokesman for the British Prime Minister’s Office said, referring to the law that requires government officials to support all cabinet policy decisions publicly, “Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his post in government following comments that were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility.”

Accusing the UK government of participating in war crimes

Human rights organisations accuse the UK of participating in war crimes for continuing to sell weapons to Israel. The UK-based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and Ramallah-based al-Haq Human Rights Organisation have filed a lawsuit against the government of this country in the UK High Court due to London’s failure to stop the sale of weapons and ammunition to Israel. The case submitted to the UK High Court details Israeli attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, hospitals, bakeries, and schools, and the forced displacement of people in the Gaza Strip.

Negligence of the UK government in preventing the violation of international law

About 15% of the equipment used in the F-35 fighters that Israel uses to bombard the Gaza Strip was produced in the UK. F-35 fighter-bombers are currently bombing civilian infrastructure and houses and are thus responsible for killing thousands of innocent Palestinians. The UK government is responsible for stopping the export of weapons to countries with a risk of using these weapons violating international law.

Increasing British diplomatic activities in support of Israel

In recent weeks, British diplomatic activities have increased. During his visit to Egypt, Foreign Secretary David Cameron focused on brokering a ceasefire in Gaza and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians. He emphasised the UK’s desire to halt the conflict in Gaza, stating, “I am eager for this conflict to conclude swiftly.” Cameron warned that if Hamas persists in launching rocket attacks, not only would a sustainable ceasefire be improbable, but it could also jeopardise the prospect of a two-state solution in the future.

Britain hinders the international consensus against Israel

British diplomatic efforts in the Gaza crisis have been full of contradictions and ambiguity. In the last two months, Rishi Sunak and David Cameron have made four trips to the Middle East and discussed the Gaza war with senior officials of Arab countries and Israel. Britain seems to be reducing Israel’s diplomatic responsibility for killing Gaza civilians. In a way, the British Foreign Secretary has the role of facilitating Israel’s relations with the Arab countries during the Gaza war. This regulatory role of Britain in the field of diplomacy with Arab countries is to prevent the consensus of Western countries against Israel, and the goal is to stabilise and rebalance the relations between Israel and Arab countries during the Gaza war. The idea of two states serves as a temporary relief to public opinion; in practice, implementing this plan is impossible. In other words, there is no will on the part of Rishi Sunak’s government for this action.

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