Destroyed buildings and rubble-filled street in Gaza.

Take action to #StopArmingIsrael

Advocacy Advisor Kafia Abdurahman Omar explains why War Child is still campaigning for the UK to immediately suspend all arms sales to Israel.

UK government ministers have told us repeatedly over the last six months hat they support Israel’s military action in Gaza as long as Israel abides by international humanitarian law (IHL). This is not just a principled stance: it is legal requirement. Under the terms of international agreements such as the 1949 Geneva Convention, which the UK has signed up to, governments should not provide support – including the sale of arms – that encourage or enable violations of IHL.

The problem is, independent experts – including the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights and others – stated as early as last year that both the Palestinian armed groups that carried out the attacks of 7 October, AND Israel in its response, have violated international humanitarian law (IHL). Yet, while arms sales to Palestinian armed groups are already prohibited, the UK government continues to license arms sales to Israel. For example, UK arms manufacturers provide components used to build the F35 stealth combat aircraft that are currently being used by Israeli forces in the bombardment of Gaza.

While these conclusions by independent experts aren’t official legal rulings, they are serious enough that they should compel the UK government to suspend arms sales to all parties while they investigate the violations, in line with their legal obligations.

Countries including Spain and Italy have already suspended arms sales to Israel, while in the Netherlands, the courts ordered the government to stop supplying F35 fighter jet parts to Israel, due to the clear risk of serious violations IHL. Again in February, a UN statement concluded that “Any transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately”. And just last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to call on all countries to cease the sale of arms and munitions to Israel.

The UK government, however, has so far refused to budge. Instead, reports abound that they have sought legal advice on the issue but are refusing to publish it.

Israeli airstrikes have killed over 13,000 children, and forced a million from their homes. Hundreds of thousands of these are now facing enforced starvation. We believe that continuing to permit the sale of arms to Israel while the risk remains that they might be used to violate international law and the rights of children, makes the UK government complicit in this catastrophe.

If you agree, please join us in making your voice heard to your local MP, to the Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, and to Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy MP.


This war on children MUST stop. Find how you can make your voice heard and call for a #ceasefireNOW.