London and Washington are raising their rhetoric against Israel, but they continue to send weapons there

London and Washington are raising their rhetoric against Israel, but they continue to send weapons there

LondonThe shock caused by the killing of seven World Central Kitchen workers, including three British citizens, sparked the anger of the political class and the British establishment against Tel Aviv's practices. But despite the deaths of more than 30,000 Palestinians and the deaths of more than 200 UN aid workers (also Palestinians), the warnings issued by both London and the White House were not that loud. By and large, it's harsh words, grandiose gestures, and little else.

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The exception to this rhetoric was former Foreign Office Permanent Secretary Peter Ricketts, the former highest-ranking official in the country's diplomacy and a man with great standing at Westminster. Ricketts made an explicit call to Downing Street to stop arms exports to Israel. He told the BBC on Wednesday: “There is ample evidence that Israel has not been sufficiently careful to fulfill its obligations in relation to the safety of civilians. A country that receives weapons from the UK must comply with international humanitarian law. This is a condition for an arms export licence. So, frankly, I think it's time to send that signal. “It may not change the course of the war, but I am asking for a political message, and it may also stimulate debate in the United States, which has the real power to change the rules of the game, if the Americans begin to think about placing limits and restrictions on the use of American weapons in Israel.”

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Security consultants

His words practically intersected over time with the first statement from the family of one of the victims, James Kirby, who described him as a “hero.” He was working with the two other dead Britons, James Henderson and John Chapman, at WCK as a security consultant. Kirby was 47 years old and had served combat missions as a soldier in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Henderson, 33, was a former sailor. For his part, Chapman (57 years old) was a member of Her Majesty's Special Forces.

Despite the hype and gestures, London remains the one driving whatever Washington decides. At the moment, he does not appear to support banning arms sales to Israel. Foreign Secretary David Cameron confirmed last month that he would judge and decide on the basis of whether Israel had fulfilled its international obligations. “If it is found that he did not do so, it would be in violation of arms export licences,” he said at the time. From this the consequences should be drawn. This morning he did not speak frankly.

And this Wednesday, in a brief meeting with the media upon his arrival in Brussels to attend a meeting of NATO heads of diplomacy, he limited himself to lamenting the killing of aid workers, to welcoming the supposed speed with which Israel will try to clarify the facts, and to insist that more humanitarian aid is needed for the people of Gaza. “I appreciate the fact of that [el ministre d’Exteriors d’Israel] Talk about more aid to Gaza, up to 500 trucks per day. They promised us these things before and this really needs to happen. But of course, additional aid will not succeed unless the escalation of the conflict is halted so that aid to the Strip can resume, and horrific incidents like those we have witnessed in recent days are avoided. This is vital. The UK will be watching closely to ensure this happens.”

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Close control

Ricketts' call to ban arms sales to Israel has not received much enthusiasm from the opposition, which is more interested in winning local elections on May 2 and a general election, perhaps in June or the fall, than in making a misstep in international affairs. Labour's Darren Jones, the shadow chancellor of the exchequer rather than the shadow foreign secretary, said Israel had “gone too far”. But he quickly added, in an argument against Ricketts: “The truth is that if Britain, for example, stopped supplying arms, the war would not end. What we have to do is bring the parties to a position where the fighting can end.” Stop.”

However, the Lib Dems, who see the lukewarmness of Labor – which has taken so long to call a ceasefire and which does not make an explicit call for a halt to arms exports – as a way to win votes among the Muslim population, is taking it a step further. They spoke in favor of it. “The idea that British-made weapons could be used in attacks like this,” said Ed Davey, the party's leader, in a stunning display of double meaning. [el de WCK] Completely unacceptable. The government must take swift action to suspend arms exports to Israel. We must redouble our efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire between the two parties.”

The most visible display of Israel's strength continues to come from the White House. Because while Joe Biden posted a statement showing that he is “angry” and “heartbroken” by the events, he continues to send weapons there. The statement said in a somewhat harsh tone: “Israel has not done enough to protect humanitarian workers trying to provide aid to civilians. Events like those that occurred yesterday simply should not occur.” Once again, he also insisted: “We will continue to pressure Israel to facilitate the delivery of aid. We are pushing for an immediate ceasefire as part of the hostage agreement.”

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The ball, or bombs, are still on Netanyahu's roof, ready to continue being dropped. Internal and external pressures do not seem to be making a difference in the Israeli Prime Minister's unstoppable journey. The only real obstacle for President Biden is arms supplies. But right now, he doesn't seem ready to activate it.

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