The UK Government must publish the legal advice it has received regarding UK’s arms exports to Israel.

On 8th March, the Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, said he would get new advice on the Israeli Defence Force’s compliance with international law “in coming days,” but nothing has materialised. Clearly the Government has been receiving legal advice. There are precedents for publishing such advice and there is no reason for the advice to be withheld from Parliament and from the public.

In addition to the tens of thousands of innocent Palestinian citizens, many of them women and children, who have been killed by the IDF in this horrific conflict, humanitarian aid workers including British citizens, bringing badly needed aid and medicines to a starving Palestinian population on the brink of famine, have been killed by the IDF. There must be a fully independent international investigation as a minimum. The IDF actions are unconscionable and are unequivocally condemned. The Israeli Government must face serious consequences, not just tough rhetoric.

There must be an immediate ceasefire observed by all sides. Hostages must be released. Full, safe and unimpeded access for the vast quantity of humanitarian aid needed to reach the Palestinian population must be provided for immediately. The UN Security Council resolution must be implemented in full, and the UK government must play its part in applying diplomatic pressure to make it happen. The Israeli Government’s threatened ground offensive in Rafah must not go ahead.

A ceasefire must create the space for the intense diplomatic process for a two-state solution to begin, with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and independent Palestine, where all can enjoy security, dignity and statehood. International efforts to secure a long-term peace must not fail.

The truth is this: it will not be possible to address the crisis in Gaza if the fighting does not stop—and that is also the best way to secure the release of hostages.

Labour’s message to the government is this. Publish the legal advice now. If it says there is any risk that UK arms might be used in a breach of international humanitarian law, the sale of those arms must stop.

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