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Israel/OPT: UK must take prospect of Gaza genocide seriously after top court ruling

An area of Khan Younis after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in November © Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Commenting on today’s interim ruling by the International Court of Justice in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, Karla McLaren, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Government Affairs, said:

“This is an extremely significant ruling. 

“After being critical of this case for weeks, the UK now needs to start taking the extremely grave issue of potential genocide against the Palestinian people seriously.

“The staggering number of Palestinian civilians killed, the colossal scale of physical destruction, the ongoing denial of life-saving aid, and the stream of dehumanising and racist anti-Palestinian rhetoric from Israeli officials, all point to the possibility of genocidal intent in Israel’s attacks in Gaza.

“Under the Genocide Convention, the UK has an obligation to take meaningful action to prevent the crime of genocide being committed - this must now become a reality.

“The Government’s stance has at times looked like a blanket willingness to provide diplomatic cover for the Israeli authorities, no matter how many Palestinian civilians are killed in airstrikes or how many face starvation amid Israeli’s cruel and illegal blockade.  

“There’s already clear evidence that Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity - including the crime of apartheid - in Gaza and elsewhere for decades.

“The UK should always be consistent in its support for international law, and when it comes to Israel it should acknowledge the grave significance of cutting off water, food and power to an entire population before bombing it relentlessly while issuing threats grounded in biblical accounts of extermination.  


“The UK should suspend its arms transfers to Israel, call for an immediate ceasefire and for Israel to end its 17-year-long blockade of Gaza (as well as its other apartheid practices), and it should fully support the ICJ case and other important international accountability mechanisms that might deliver some semblance of justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”


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