Quakers speak on Gaza genocide ruling

Rishi Sunak must now ‘suspend all UK arms sales and military support to Israel immediately’, BYM said, or ‘risk complicity in genocidal acts’.

Following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that ‘there is a plausible risk Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza’, Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has said that the UK government must take urgent action.

‘The ICJ, the UN’s highest court, did not call on Israel to immediately suspend its military campaign but it stated unequivocally that Israel must stop killing Palestinian civilians with immediate effect,’ reads the Quakers in Britain website. ‘The British government, alongside other signatories to the Genocide Convention, is legally bound to ensure that measures ordered by the court are taken immediately.’

The ICJ made the judgement in its interim ruling on the case brought by South Africa charging Israel with the crime of genocide. Rishi Sunak must now ‘suspend all UK arms sales and military support to Israel immediately’, BYM said, or ‘risk complicity in genocidal acts’.

The ICJ also stated that it is gravely concerned about the fate of the Israeli hostages. BYM has joined its call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Israel must also let more humanitarian aid into Gaza or risk a serious violation of the Genocide Convention, the ICJ ruled.

BYM has also called on the UK government to immediately reverse its decision to ‘temporarily pause’ all funding to the UNRWA, the UN agency providing urgent humanitarian assistance in Gaza. This decision followed the dismissal of twelve UNRWA staff accused of involvement in the 7 October Hamas attacks, but BYM said the withdrawal of funding could also put the UK at serious risk of complicity in genocidal acts.
UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said: ‘Our humanitarian operation, on which two million people depend… is collapsing. I am shocked such decisions are based on alleged behaviour of a few individuals and, as war continues, needs are deepening and famine looms.’

BYM said that, ‘as the former colonial power in the Holy Land, the UK bears particular responsibility for the decades-long violence between Israelis and Palestinians… This ruling makes clear that UK actions since 7 October in support of the Israeli military campaign now put the British government at risk of complicity in genocidal acts.’

Over 26,000 Palestinians (including 11,000 children) and 1,200 Israelis (including thirty-six children), have been killed since the Hamas attacks of 7 October, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

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