UK government under increasing pressure over Israeli war on Gaza
Amer Sultan in London, Wednesday 30 Jul 2014

The UK government is under increasing parliamentarian and popular pressure to work towards ending the Israeli war on Gaza and halting British support for Israel.

Forty-eight members of parliament have signed an early day motion calling for an end to a “disproportionate” escalation of Israeli military attacks against Palestinians.

The motion argues that the Israeli military assault on Gaza, which started on 8 July and has killed over 1,200 Palestinians, is a form of collective punishment.

It calls for an immediate end to the attacks, and describes Israeli military incursions into Palestinian population centres in the occupied West Bank a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Early day motions are motions submitted by MPs which call for a debate in parliament on a particular topic. Although they rarely lead to parliamentary action, they are widely used to raise awareness of a particular issue.

While calling for an immediate end to “retaliatory” rocket attacks from Gaza, the motion also urges Israel as the occupying power to de-escalate the conflict.

Pro-Palestine activists will hold a protest march in London on Friday, which will conclude with a stand in front of the Israeli embassy.

A similar demonstration last week drew more than 45,000 people in solidarity with Gaza.

Around 40,000 people have also signed an open letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron calling for an arms embargo on Israel.

The letter calls on the British government “not buy or supply military equipment that has, or could be, used or tested as part of Israel's illegal occupation or as part of its collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

The signatories include MPs, members of the House of Lords, and prominent authors, artists and musicians.

“Our aid and arms are helping to kill these innocent people in Gaza. Now it’s time for our government to respond appropriately and impose sanctions, in particular an arms embargo, unless Israel ends this bloody campaign of collective punishment against the Palestinian people,” reads the letter.