THE UK Government is coming under renewed pressure to suspend arms exports to Israel amid concerns of a ground offensive in Rafah – which has already led US president Joe Biden to act.

The Tory government has repeatedly refused to block weapons exports, even as Biden warned Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu that the supply of weapons from Washington could be halted if the heavily-populated southern Gaza city was attacked.

In reaction to the strong positioning from the US, politicians, charities and campaigners in the UK have urged the Tory government to follow suit.

Writing in The National, SNP foreign affairs spokesperson Brendan O’Hara called for Labour and the Conservatives “to finally back an end to UK arms sales to Israel”.

READ MORE: The one rule that shows the UK needs to change its arms export policy

He wrote: “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.”

There are severe concerns, which have been expressed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US president Biden (below) among other world leaders, that an Israeli offensive in Rafah could have devastating humanitarian consequences.

Currently, more than one million displaced Palestinians are taking refuge in the city.

The National: President Joe Biden has said dissent must never lead to disorder (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty International UK's crisis response manager, told The National it was “disgraceful that the UK continues to sell weapons and other military equipment … which Israeli forces are currently using in Gaza with devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians”.

She went on: "With every transfer of UK arms for the Israeli military, the UK is risking greater complicity in Israel's war crimes, apartheid, and possible genocide in Gaza.

"The UK must immediately stop any further sales of arms and any other military equipment to Israel whether direct or indirect.”

READ MORE: Tories approved Israel arms exports two days after British aid workers killed

On Tuesday, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) issued a statement saying they “refuse to pretend that this offensive is a new ‘red line’ or argue that this next massacre should finally be the one that matters to our government”.

The CAAT went on: “Many of Israel’s western allies, including the EU, the UK, France, Germany, and others have made clear that such an assault is ‘unacceptable’. Yet none have given any indication that crossing this apparent ‘red line’ will lead to any practical change in policy, or any consequences for Israel.

“To call Israel’s behaviour unacceptable while continuing to supply the arms used to commit these same acts is immoral, hypocritical, and makes all of these governments complicit in Israel’s crimes.”

The Scottish Greens have also called on the UK Government to act in the strongest terms.

“Israeli forces are inflicting a genocide on Gaza, and everyone who has chosen to arm and support them is complicit in these war crimes,” MSP Ross Greer said.

"The US government is the biggest arms dealer in the world and could have stopped the bombardment at any time it wanted. The fact they have been forced to change their position is a credit to the US anti-war movement and should serve as an inspiration to those of us protesting here for the UK Government to end its complicity.

"The fact that David Cameron is taking an even more morally bankrupt position than a blood-soaked White House should be a source of huge shame. The arms sales must stop, and so must the slaughter."

The National: Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron speaks during a press conference in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan during his five-day tour of the Central Asia region (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

On Thursday, Cameron (above) insisted that the UK was in a different situation to the US because the Tory government does not supply weapons directly.

O’Hara said that this line, when it was used by Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, “demonstrated either a complete lack of understanding or a deliberate attempt at misleading”.

The UK Government does not directly hand weapons to Israel, but it has absolute control over all arms exports from its shores.

READ MORE: Brendan O'Hara: In place of a spine, UK must follow US on Israeli arms exports

Cameron said arms export licences would continue to be measured against the risk of international humanitarian law being broken.

Answering questions following a speech in London, he said: “There’s a very fundamental difference between the US situation and the UK situation.

“The US is a massive state supplier of weapons to Israel. We do not have a UK Government supply of weapons to Israel, we have a number of licences, and I think our defence exports to Israel are responsible for significantly less than 1% of their total. That is a big difference.

“On Rafah, we are clear that we would not support some major operation in Rafah unless there was a very clear plan for how to protect people and save lives and all the rest of it.

“We have not seen that plan, so in the circumstances we will not support a major operation in Rafah.”