Israel is invading Rafah with the support of our morally bankrupt government. There are no more excuses. It must impose an arms embargo now

Israel's invasion of Rafah is yet another escalation of a 7-month genocide. Western governments, including the UK, must stop making excuses and impose an arms embargo now.

Israel’s horrific offensive in Rafah is the latest unconscionable and unlawful act it has committed against Palestinian people throughout seven months of genocide. 

Our government and opposition leadership were given advance notice by Israel that they would commit these crimes against humanity, and their failure to call for a ceasefire, failure to stop arming this genocide, and failure to hold Israel to account is what has brought this horror to Gaza. For months, UK Ministers have acted under the pretence that an unfathomable escalation from Israel in Rafah was needed for them to take meaningful action. This response from our so-called leaders is morally bankrupt and unforgivable. It has allowed Israel to commit genocide with impunity, and created a hell on earth for the people of Gaza. Now that the invasion of Rafah is underway we see that this ‘red line’ is nothing more than rhetoric.

We refuse to pretend that this offensive is a new ‘red line’ or argue that this next massacre should finally be the one that matters to our government. It is already unconscionable that we are still exporting weapons to Israel when it has killed over 34,000 thousand people, with thousands more under the rubble and brutally injured; when it has deliberately caused a famine that is already raging in Northern Gaza, and which threatens the entire population of Gaza; and when it inflicts an apartheid regime and a brutal occupation on Palestinian people. 

Israel had a choice. It could have withdrawn its unlawful Rafah evacuation order given to over a hundred thousand people and accepted the terms of a ceasefire. Instead it has chosen to launch its assault in Rafah. 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah, many of them have been displaced several times. As the Palestinians themselves and multiple aid agencies have made clear, they have nowhere else to go, and nowhere in Gaza is safe, including Israel’s so-called “evacuation zones”.

The invasion of Rafah will lead to even more catastrophic consequences for the people there, and will accelerate the genocide that Israel has been committing for the past 7 months. Many of Israel’s western allies, including the EU, the UK, France, Germany, and others have made clear that such an assault is “unacceptable”. Yet none have given any indication that crossing this apparent “red line” will lead to any practical change in policy, or any consequences for Israel. To call Israel’s behaviour unacceptable while continuing to supply the arms used to commit these same acts is immoral, hypocritical, and makes all of these governments complicit in Israel’s crimes. 

CAAT, along with dozens of other NGOs, and hundreds of legal and UN experts, have been calling for a UK arms embargo on Israel for months. We have seen unrelenting evidence of Israel’s genocide and war crimes, evidence that surpassed our greatest nightmares, yet almost all significant arms suppliers, including the US, UK, and Germany, have continued to supply arms. 

We implore our government to find some semblance of humility and humanity and see this genocide for what it is. 

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

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