British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was questioned about a video broadcast by ITV News showing a civilian being shot dead while waving a white flag in Gaza. The horrific images sparked accusations of war crimes, and Sunak was challenged to give his reaction on Wednesday.
Video taken by ITV News cameraman Mohammed Abu Safiya the previous day showed a group of civilians in the enclave holding a white flag. An English-speaking man says they are trying to return to an area under fire to rescue their relatives. Moments later, one of the men was fatally shot in the chest.
The IDF denied the video in a statement to ITV News, describing it as a… “A disgusting accusation” Which “It can only be considered an extension of Hamas’ propaganda efforts to discredit the IDF.”
During Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Scottish National Party MP Stephen Flynn challenged Sunak over the incident, asking him whether “Such an act constitutes a war crime?”
In response, Sunak said: “International humanitarian law must be respected and civilians protected.” But Flynn pushed him further, saying: “I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to step up to the despatch box and tell people in these islands and elsewhere that shooting an unarmed man walking under a white flag is a war crime.”
Labor MP Tahir Ali also strongly criticized the Prime Minister over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, saying he had done so “The blood of thousands of innocent people is on his hands.” Asking him if it's time to commit “To demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to the British arms trade with Israel.”
In December, Human Rights Watch said selling arms to Israel could make the UK complicit in war crimes. Since 2015, Britain has licensed at least £474 million ($600 million) in military exports to the Jewish state, including components for fighter jets, tanks, missiles and ammunition. The UK provides approximately 15% of the components for the F-35 stealth fighter currently in use in Gaza, according to the organisation, which says open licenses lack transparency and allow unlimited amounts of arms exports.
More than 25,000 people – most of them civilians – have been killed in the Palestinian enclave since the start of the war, according to Gaza health officials. Hamas sparked the conflict by launching surprise attacks on Israel, killing about 1,200 people.
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