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Legal advisors in Britain: Israel is violating international law in Gaza

According to British law, such advice necessitates the cessation of arms sales to Israel, which would put Prime Minister Sunak under heavy pressure

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to the press as he arrives at the Ben Gurion International Airport, outside of Tel Aviv, on Oct. 19, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The British government's legal advisors have ruled that Israel is violating international law in the war in the Gaza Strip.

According to a recording published on Saturday night in "The New York Observer," despite receiving the legal opinion, the British government chose not to make it public.

The chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, Alicia Kearns, disclosed this on March 13. The findings contradict the repeated denials of British government ministers that the legal opinion had not yet been given.

Kearns told the Observer: "I am convinced that the government has reached the conclusion that Israel is not demonstrating a commitment to international law, and this is the legal determination it must accept."

The disclosure may put British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak under heavy pressure, since, according to British law, legal advice of this nature requires Britain to immediately cease its arms sales to Israel. Legal experts have warned that refusing to do so would jeopardize Britain’s own compliance with international law, as it could be considered aiding and abetting war crimes. 

Earlier this month, before the publication, Kearns spoke about the issue at an election event in London.

"The Foreign Office received formal legal advice, according to which Israel violates international humanitarian law, but the government did not announce it," Kearns said.

"They did not stop arms exports; they imposed very minor sanctions on Israeli settlers," she continued.

In the context of Prime Minister Sunak and Foreign Secretary Cameron's support for Israel's right to self-defense, she asserted: "The right to self-defense has limits under the law, it is not unlimited."

Dov Gil-Har is a corespondent for KAN 11.

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