RISHI Sunak has been called out for providing “contradictory” answers on whether the UK will follow the lead of the United States by pausing weapons shipments to Israel.

It was revealed earlier this week that the US Government would not be supplying Israel with offensive weapons that could be used to launch an all-out assault on the city of Rafah where more than one million Palestinian civilians are sheltering.

However, in a letter to the Prime Minister SNP MP Brendan O’Hara pointed out the UK Government’s inability to provide a consistent answer on whether the UK would be pausing its own weapons shipments to Israel.

“I write seeking clarity regarding your answer to Stephen Flynn’s question at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday,” the letter said.

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“When he asked if the UK would follow the United States example, having paused a shipment of weapons bound for Israel, due to their concerns over the invasio of Rafah, you replied that ‘the UK government doesn’t itself directly provide, or ship, arms to Israel’.

“Today, however the Foreign Secretary said ‘we have a number of licenses, and I think our defense exports to Israel are responsible for significantly less than one percent of their total. That is a big difference.’

“The UK Government’s position becomes even more opaque in light of the answer given by the Deputy Foreign Secretary on Tuesday when he described the amount of arms that Britain provides to Israel as ‘negligible’.

“It appears that the Government has given significantly contradictory answers to the same question in the space of the last 72 hours.”

The National:

O’Hara (above) notes that it is well-known that UK companies continue to manufacture and provide “significant components” for F-35 combat jets used by the Israeli military.

They include BAE Systems whose factory in Glasgow has recently been subject to protests.

“I am concerned that the slew of contradictory answers from you and your senior ministers suggests that you are deliberately trying to evade the question, or you are unclear on the arms trade process.

“Regardless, these comments were misleading and raise serious concerns as to whether the UK Government is taking its responsibilities and obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty seriously.

“Given the 35,000 innocent civilians now killed at the hands of the Israeli forces, and the UK’s strongest ally acknowledging that they no longer can provide the means to make this assault possible, I would like to ask again if your Government will immediately suspend the licenses that it grants to provide arms to Israel?

“And if not, why not?”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Israel would fight with its “fingernails” if necessary after Joe Biden’s decision to pause the shipment of some weapons.

Israeli attacks on Rafah have since expanded to ground operations with many Palestinians fleeing the city despite the UN declaring a “full blown famine” in northern Gaza.