Does any Sane Person Believe Israel Complies with International Law? | VT Foreign Policy
January 27, 2024
VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel

$ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts
Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State.

On 24 January Parliament produced a rare treat where an MP held a Government minister to account over support for Israel’s appalling behaviour in Gaza and the Government’s attempts to cover up their own collusion.

David Rutley MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) was being quizzed by Zarah Sultana (Coventry South) (Lab). The verbatim report in Hansard speaks for itself so I’ll simply let it run.



Zarah Sultana:

I would like to talk about the Government’s response to Israel’s violations of international law in Gaza and about revelations that I believe should be a major news story…. They relate to recently released court documents that reveal that, from very early on in the war, the Foreign Office had major doubts about Israel’s compliance with international law — a fact the Government have hidden.

The documents show that, on 10 November, just a month into the war, the Foreign Office had made an internal assessment of Israel’s compliance with international law and judged that “the volume of strikes, total death toll as a proportion of those who are children, raise serious concerns.”

It went on to say that His Majesty’s Government’s “inability to come to a clear assessment on Israel’s record of compliance with IHL poses significant policy risks.”
However, those serious concerns were kept secret from Parliament and the public. Instead, Ministers continued to give reassurances about Israel’s commitment to international law. For example, just four days after that assessment was made, I asked the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield [Andrew Mitchell], in the main Chamber whether Israel had used British-made weapons for war crimes in Gaza. He replied that “the President of Israel…has made it clear that his country will abide by international humanitarian law”. —[Official Report, 14 November 2023; Vol. 740, c. 523.]

That was despite the fact that, as shown by these documents, his Department doubted the Israeli President’s words. The documents reveal that another assessment was made by the Foreign Office on 8 December, expressing “concerns regarding” Israel’s “commitment to comply with the obligation not to arbitrarily deny access to humanitarian assistance” and saying that it was “possible Israel’s actions” in relation to the provision of humanitarian relief “were a breach of International Humanitarian Law”.

Those damning judgments were, again, not made public. Instead, Government Ministers continued to reassure the public about Israel’s commitment to international law, and they continue to do that.

The documents show that, a few days after that assessment, the Foreign Secretary “decided he was satisfied there was good evidence to support a judgment that Israel is committed to comply with International Humanitarian Law”. On that basis, he continued allowing arms sales to Israel, despite the fact that, according to our Government’s policy and international law, arms export licences should not be granted if there is a clear risk that they could be used in violation of international law. That recommendation was accepted by the Business Secretary on 18 December, and arms sales to Israel were allowed to continue.

When questioned about these matters at the Foreign Affairs Committee this month, the Foreign Secretary failed to disclose the fact that his Department had carried out a formal review of Israel’s compliance with international law, and he denied that he had made a ministerial decision about allowing arms sales to continue. Members will be unsurprised to learn that the Chair of that Committee is writing to the Foreign Secretary to ask him to clarify his comments.

What does this tell us? First, it tells us that, early on in the war, the Foreign Office had serious concerns about Israel’s breaches of international law. Secondly, it tells us that Ministers hid that fact, pretending in Parliament and in the media that they had confidence in Israel’s commitment to international law. Thirdly, it tells us that we should have absolutely no confidence in the Government’s arms export licensing regime, which Ministers boast consists of “the toughest regulations anywhere in the world” [Official Report, 27 November 2023; Vol. 741, c. 565.] but which are clearly grossly inadequate.


FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
To finish, I would like to ask some questions of the Minister.

⦁ Why did Foreign Office Ministers not reveal that their Department had serious concerns about Israel’s behaviour from as early as 10 November? Was that because they wanted to give Israel the green light for its bombardment of Gaza and they thought that revealing this assessment would simply make that too hard?

⦁ Why did the Foreign Secretary recommend continuing with arms sales to Israel even though his Department had those concerns? Was it because this Government are too cowardly to stand up for international law, or is it because they do not care about international law when it does not suit them?

⦁ Finally, will the Government comply with their own rules and with international law and the basic humanity at the heart of it and stop arming Israeli war crimes?

David Rutley:

The hon. Member for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana) raised important points. What I can say at this point — she will probably not be happy with the answer — is that Ministers review the advice they receive carefully and act consistently with that advice. We work hard and continue to call for international humanitarian law to be respected and for civilians to be protected. As the Foreign Secretary outlined, we assess that Israel has the capability and commitment to comply with international humanitarian law, but we are also deeply concerned about the impact on the civilian population in Gaza. Too many civilians have been killed.

Zarah Sultana:

If there are concerns in the Foreign Office, as per the internal assessment, why did the Foreign Secretary recommend continuing to allow arms sales to Israel? That goes against our current policy, which is that where there is a risk that human rights violations will take place, we should not continue selling arms licences to countries.

David Rutley:

The Foreign Secretary outlined on 8 January that he has not received advice that Israel has breached international humanitarian law. On export licences, the UK supports Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and take action against terrorism, provided that it is within the bounds of international humanitarian law. All our export licences are kept under careful and continual review, and we can amend, suspend or revoke extant licences or refuse new licence applications where they are inconsistent with the UK’s strategic export licensing criteria. It is important to note that, as I think hon. Members are aware, the regime is among the most rigorous and transparent in the world.

On the topic of Israel and Gaza, a number of people talked about South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice. The Government believe that this development is not helpful, and we do not support it. As previously stated, we recognise that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas, and we do not believe that calling that genocide is the right approach. Ultimately, it is for the courts, not states, to decide on matters of genocide, and of course we will respect the role and independence of the ICJ.

This encounter tells us at least four things.

Saying that “Israel is committed to comply with International Humanitarian Law” is laughable given the apartheid state’s 75-year record of not complying.

The Government still desperately clings to the belief that Israel has a right to defend itself against legitimate Palestinian armed resistance even after being told by the UN that “Israel cannot claim self-defence against a threat that emanates from the territory it occupies”.



If, after 3 months of hideous slaughter and devastation, the Foreign Secretary hadn’t detected brazen violations of international and humanitarian law by Israel he ought to be sent on a crash course on the subject – along with the rest of his ignorant colleagues.

The British Government should hang their heads in shame for not supporting South Africa in bringing their case to the ICJ about Israel’s genocide in Gaza. After hearing the Court’s verdict they look like a very sad bunch of ‘Friends of Genocidists’.

Stuart Littlewood
27 January 2024

Stuart Littlewood
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books – Paperturn-view.com.

Also, check out Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper. It tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and explains to me why the Zionists who control Israel should be brought before the International Criminal Court.

Stuart’s Very Latest Articles: 2023 – Present

– Archived Articles: 2010-2015 – 2016-2022



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Does any Sane Person Believe Israel Complies with International Law? | VT Foreign Policy January 27, 2024 VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State. On 24 January Parliament produced a rare treat where an MP held a Government minister to account over support for Israel’s appalling behaviour in Gaza and the Government’s attempts to cover up their own collusion. David Rutley MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) was being quizzed by Zarah Sultana (Coventry South) (Lab). The verbatim report in Hansard speaks for itself so I’ll simply let it run. Zarah Sultana: I would like to talk about the Government’s response to Israel’s violations of international law in Gaza and about revelations that I believe should be a major news story…. They relate to recently released court documents that reveal that, from very early on in the war, the Foreign Office had major doubts about Israel’s compliance with international law — a fact the Government have hidden. The documents show that, on 10 November, just a month into the war, the Foreign Office had made an internal assessment of Israel’s compliance with international law and judged that “the volume of strikes, total death toll as a proportion of those who are children, raise serious concerns.” It went on to say that His Majesty’s Government’s “inability to come to a clear assessment on Israel’s record of compliance with IHL poses significant policy risks.” However, those serious concerns were kept secret from Parliament and the public. Instead, Ministers continued to give reassurances about Israel’s commitment to international law. For example, just four days after that assessment was made, I asked the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield [Andrew Mitchell], in the main Chamber whether Israel had used British-made weapons for war crimes in Gaza. He replied that “the President of Israel…has made it clear that his country will abide by international humanitarian law”. —[Official Report, 14 November 2023; Vol. 740, c. 523.] That was despite the fact that, as shown by these documents, his Department doubted the Israeli President’s words. The documents reveal that another assessment was made by the Foreign Office on 8 December, expressing “concerns regarding” Israel’s “commitment to comply with the obligation not to arbitrarily deny access to humanitarian assistance” and saying that it was “possible Israel’s actions” in relation to the provision of humanitarian relief “were a breach of International Humanitarian Law”. Those damning judgments were, again, not made public. Instead, Government Ministers continued to reassure the public about Israel’s commitment to international law, and they continue to do that. The documents show that, a few days after that assessment, the Foreign Secretary “decided he was satisfied there was good evidence to support a judgment that Israel is committed to comply with International Humanitarian Law”. On that basis, he continued allowing arms sales to Israel, despite the fact that, according to our Government’s policy and international law, arms export licences should not be granted if there is a clear risk that they could be used in violation of international law. That recommendation was accepted by the Business Secretary on 18 December, and arms sales to Israel were allowed to continue. When questioned about these matters at the Foreign Affairs Committee this month, the Foreign Secretary failed to disclose the fact that his Department had carried out a formal review of Israel’s compliance with international law, and he denied that he had made a ministerial decision about allowing arms sales to continue. Members will be unsurprised to learn that the Chair of that Committee is writing to the Foreign Secretary to ask him to clarify his comments. What does this tell us? First, it tells us that, early on in the war, the Foreign Office had serious concerns about Israel’s breaches of international law. Secondly, it tells us that Ministers hid that fact, pretending in Parliament and in the media that they had confidence in Israel’s commitment to international law. Thirdly, it tells us that we should have absolutely no confidence in the Government’s arms export licensing regime, which Ministers boast consists of “the toughest regulations anywhere in the world” [Official Report, 27 November 2023; Vol. 741, c. 565.] but which are clearly grossly inadequate. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo To finish, I would like to ask some questions of the Minister. ⦁ Why did Foreign Office Ministers not reveal that their Department had serious concerns about Israel’s behaviour from as early as 10 November? Was that because they wanted to give Israel the green light for its bombardment of Gaza and they thought that revealing this assessment would simply make that too hard? ⦁ Why did the Foreign Secretary recommend continuing with arms sales to Israel even though his Department had those concerns? Was it because this Government are too cowardly to stand up for international law, or is it because they do not care about international law when it does not suit them? ⦁ Finally, will the Government comply with their own rules and with international law and the basic humanity at the heart of it and stop arming Israeli war crimes? David Rutley: The hon. Member for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana) raised important points. What I can say at this point — she will probably not be happy with the answer — is that Ministers review the advice they receive carefully and act consistently with that advice. We work hard and continue to call for international humanitarian law to be respected and for civilians to be protected. As the Foreign Secretary outlined, we assess that Israel has the capability and commitment to comply with international humanitarian law, but we are also deeply concerned about the impact on the civilian population in Gaza. Too many civilians have been killed. Zarah Sultana: If there are concerns in the Foreign Office, as per the internal assessment, why did the Foreign Secretary recommend continuing to allow arms sales to Israel? That goes against our current policy, which is that where there is a risk that human rights violations will take place, we should not continue selling arms licences to countries. David Rutley: The Foreign Secretary outlined on 8 January that he has not received advice that Israel has breached international humanitarian law. On export licences, the UK supports Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and take action against terrorism, provided that it is within the bounds of international humanitarian law. All our export licences are kept under careful and continual review, and we can amend, suspend or revoke extant licences or refuse new licence applications where they are inconsistent with the UK’s strategic export licensing criteria. It is important to note that, as I think hon. Members are aware, the regime is among the most rigorous and transparent in the world. On the topic of Israel and Gaza, a number of people talked about South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice. The Government believe that this development is not helpful, and we do not support it. As previously stated, we recognise that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas, and we do not believe that calling that genocide is the right approach. Ultimately, it is for the courts, not states, to decide on matters of genocide, and of course we will respect the role and independence of the ICJ. This encounter tells us at least four things. Saying that “Israel is committed to comply with International Humanitarian Law” is laughable given the apartheid state’s 75-year record of not complying. The Government still desperately clings to the belief that Israel has a right to defend itself against legitimate Palestinian armed resistance even after being told by the UN that “Israel cannot claim self-defence against a threat that emanates from the territory it occupies”. If, after 3 months of hideous slaughter and devastation, the Foreign Secretary hadn’t detected brazen violations of international and humanitarian law by Israel he ought to be sent on a crash course on the subject – along with the rest of his ignorant colleagues. The British Government should hang their heads in shame for not supporting South Africa in bringing their case to the ICJ about Israel’s genocide in Gaza. After hearing the Court’s verdict they look like a very sad bunch of ‘Friends of Genocidists’. Stuart Littlewood 27 January 2024 Stuart Littlewood After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books – Paperturn-view.com. Also, check out Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper. It tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and explains to me why the Zionists who control Israel should be brought before the International Criminal Court. Stuart’s Very Latest Articles: 2023 – Present – Archived Articles: 2010-2015 – 2016-2022 ATTENTION READERS We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion. About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT. https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/01/does-any-sane-person-believe-israel-complies-with-international-law/
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Does any Sane Person Believe Israel Complies with International Law?
On 24 January Parliament produced a rare treat where an MP held a Government minister to account over support for Israel's appalling behaviour in Gaza and the Government's attempts to cover up their own collusion. David Rutley MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) was being quizzed by Zarah Sultana (Coventry South) (Lab). The...
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