Corbyn calls on UK to freeze arms sales to Israel after UN Gaza report

The report focuses primarily on Israeli and not Hamas violence, and concluded that the protests were peaceful.

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March 2, 2019 22:41
2 minute read.
Corbyn calls on UK to freeze arms sales to Israel after UN Gaza report

The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, delivers a speech in Manchester, Britain, March 22, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE)

 
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UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn renewed his call for a British arms embargo against Israel after a United Nations Human Rights Council commission of inquiry said that IDF has likely committed war crimes on the Gaza border.

“The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killings and freeze arms sales to Israel,” Corbyn tweeted on Friday. Last year, the Labour Party approved a motion that called for an arms ban to Israel.

The 22-page report investigated the death of 189 Palestinians by the IDF during the Hamas-led weekly Great March of Return protests which have taken place along the Gaza border since March 30.

The UNHRC report was authored by a three-person commission of inquiry, which plans to submit a full report prior to a March 18 debate on the matter at the UNHRC’s 40th session in Geneva.

The report focused primarily on Israeli and not Hamas violence, and concluded that the protests were peaceful. It warned that the International Criminal Court could prosecute Israeli leaders and soldiers.

Last year, the UNHRC passed a resolution which called on all UN member states to halt the sale of any arms to Israel that could be used to violate international human rights law.
United States special envoy Jason Greenblatt attacked the UNHRC report on Gaza in a series of tweets.

“This [commission of inquiry] report is another manifestation of the UNHRC’s clear bias against Israel, which remains the only country that the Council dedicates an entire standing agenda item to targeting. When will the HRC speak the truth?” he wrote.

“Hamas behaved with reckless irresponsibility [and] disregard for human life when it incited VIOLENT (not ‘civilian’) protests, breaches [and] attacks at the Gaza fence-line,” Greenblatt wrote. “Hamas is directly responsible for the miserable situation of the people of Gaza.”

Israel has rejected the report and holds that the protests are violent riots led by Hamas members.

During those riots, Palestinians in Gaza have thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers. The protesters have attempted to breach the border fence and have placed explosive devices by the fence. Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary devices into Israel, burning thousands of dunams of fields and forests.

Republican lawmakers in the US also spoke out against the report and in support of Israel’s right to self-defense.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, was among those who issued a statement on the matter.

“This one-sided, highly biased and woefully inaccurate report fails to take into account key facts; most evidently, Hamas’s provocation and orchestration of this violence, its purposeful destabilization of order along the border and its continued incursions into Israel’s sovereign soil, including the launching of over 10,000 rockets and mortars on Israeli towns and villages, and the dozens of tunnels, enabling their death squads, since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza,” Zeldin wrote.

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