AFTER six months of calls from the SNP for an immediate ceasefire and the suspension of arms licenses to Israel, it seems that Westminster has once again left us at the whim of whatever it is the US government decides to do.

On this particular occasion, I am hoping that – as they have done with all other major foreign affairs decisions of the past – the UK Government will now step in line, follow suit and suspend arms sales to Israel after the US’s decision to hold back weapons.

Despite warnings from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel may be committing a genocide, the UK Government would not suspend arms licenses to Israel.

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Despite the investigation from the International Criminal Court into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine, the UK Government would not suspend arms licenses to Israel.

Despite being brought to the High Court here in the UK regarding breaches of their own legal commitments, the UK Government still would not suspend arms licenses to Israel.

Now that they have finally acknowledged that an assault in Rafah will lead to extensive civilian casualties, the US are now holding back weapons which were due to be transported to Israel last week.

We can only hope that, in place of a backbone of their own, the UK Government follows suit.

Only a few days ago, Deputy Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell (below) said that “given the number of civilians sheltering in Rafah, it is not easy to see how such an offensive could be compliant with international humanitarian law”.

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And yet, the legal Criteria 2C in the Arms Trade Treaty – incorporated into the UK Government’s own policy regarding the arms licensing export criteria – states that “the government will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law”.

The US has clearly determined that breaches of international law may be taking place in Rafah.

Though the Deputy Foreign Minister this week claimed that the amount of arms sold to Israel by the UK is “negligible”, I hope he realises that there is nothing negligible about even one wrongful civilian death at the hands of UK-supplied arms.

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In the days since Mitchell made this comment, Israel has lined the Rafah border with tanks. One-and-a-half million civilians have been told to evacuate – with nowhere left to go, Israel has closed the crossing point for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, and rockets have been fired by Israel into what is now the largest refugee camp in the world.

Yet, Westminster and its two main parties – the Tories and Labour – remain adamant that they are justified in continuing to grant arms licenses to Israel for the enactment of this collective punishment.

This week, at PMQs, the Prime Minister demonstrated either a complete lack of understanding or a deliberate attempt at misleading by stating that the UK does directly not supply arms to Israel.

The National:

Stephen Flynn (above) correctly stated that “the confidence that Israel has shown in its military ambitions in Rafah stems from the silence of its allies in the UK Government and elsewhere across the world. We all know that UK arms and tech are supporting Israel’s activities in Gaza and will be used in any attack on Rafah”.

Despite this, and despite millions across Scotland and the UK taking to the streets every week to demand that the UK Government remove their political, and physical, support of Israel’s continued bombardment of innocent civilians, the UK Government still does nothing.

It’s time for consensus. It’s time for Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer to finally back an end to UK arms sales to Israel.