OT - UK to consider suspending arms exports to Israel if Rafah offensive goes ahead

The UK government will consider suspending arms export licences to Israel if Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with a potentially devastating ground offensive on the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

As the humanitarian situation in Gaza has worsened, diplomatic pressure has been mounting on the UK to follow other countries and suspend arms exports to Israel.

Ministerial sources said that while no decision had been made about a suspension of arms export licences, the UK had the ability to respond quickly if the legal advice to ministers said that Israel was in breach of international humanitarian law.

The UK has joined other allies in pressuring Israel to avoid a ground offensive in Rafah. In a letter to the foreign affairs select committee about arms export controls to Israel published on Tuesday, David Cameron, the foreign secretary, said he could not see how an offensive in Rafah could go ahead without harming civilians and destroying homes.

In the Commons, the UK foreign minister Andrew Mitchell underscored that an offensive in Rafah represented a red line for the UK government, telling MPs on Wednesday that the UK was urging the Israeli government not to launch an attack that could have “devastating consequences”.

At a meeting in Geneva on Wednesday on the Arms Trade Treaty, UK officials were accused by Palestinian diplomats of breaking the treaty by refusing to rescind arms sales after the ICC ruled that Israel must ensure its forces did not commit acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

Palestinian representative Nada Tarbrush warned “a ground incursion in Rafah will lead to mass killings on an even greater scale than the atrocities we have seen in recent months”, adding that when the history books come to be written no one in the west can pretend they did not know of the destruction.

I don’t think anyone would pretend they did not know of the destruction. I don’t think anyone is surprised that conducting military activities within a densely populated urban area would result in significant civilian casualties. That’s why what Hamas has done - embedded all of their military forces within a civilian population - constitutes a war crime. Because when that belligerent force attacks another party (here, Israel), then the resulting military response will cause significant civilian casualties regardless of whatever efforts the other party makes to avoid those casualties.

If Hamas has located its military forces, equipment, and materiel in Rafah, then there is no way that Israel can attack them without significant loss of civilian life. Which, again, is why it is a war crime for Hamas to have done that.

Note, however, that because Hamas has embedded all of its belligerent assets within a civilian population, an attack by Israel against those forces would not necessarily constitute a violation of international law or any treaties. Again, embedding forces among civilians doesn’t mean that the belligerent force is somehow on “home base,” and immune from attack - it merely imposes obligations on the attacking force in how they conduct their attacks. Which is why the UK isn’t suspending their arms exports licenses now, or categorically saying that they will if the Rafah offensive goes ahead.



Why don’t 1.5 or 1.8 or 2 million Gazans (mostly women n children) line up at Israeli check points, get “processed and verified” by Israelis, then go to an Israeli approved safe-place of Gaza that Israel deems Hamas-free?

This would get them out of harms way, and greatly reduce the number of “collateral deaths”?

In the “safe-place” the “refugees” could get needed aid, too.

And Hamas would be separated from many of the civilians?



That’s already in progress, to some extent. Israeli officials, up to and including Netanyahu, have called for/ordered an evacuation of Rafah in advance of the planned offensive. Palestinians have already started leaving Rafah, heading up to refugee camps in central Gaza. The problem, of course, is that traveling through a war zone is fraught with danger (there’s virtually no public safety infrastructure left in many of these areas, for example) - and not everyone will make that journey. So any Rafah offensive will inevitably have large civilian casualties.

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My question is not about a MASS bolus of people moving, but rather a highly controlled flow of VETTED single, double, or small groups.

Ie, A way to separate the terrorists from their human shields.

Aid groups could supply transport.



That’s not likely to be practical. There’s too many people for that kind of small-group vetting to work in a timely manner - Israel’s only got a short window to finish their operations. Plus, the soldiers and other Israeli personnel trying to conduct that vetting would be prime targets for attack. No doubt there will be some efforts to interact with the migrating civilians to try to weed out any Hamas members that try to move with the civilians, but there’s probably not a way to do something like what you’re describing for more than a million people in a short period of time without exposing the forces to significant vulnerability to attack.


So maybe a Rafah offensive should not be undertaken…

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I fear this thread illustrates a key reason why Netanyahu and others want a Rafah offensive sooner than later. The disaster would be a feature not a bug, crudely reflecting logic of the Hamas offensive.


How do you do THAT? Be specific.

Now, how to stop the flow of weapons/war materials to those who are “approved”, but are actually members of Hamas and want to kill Israelis? Or do they have to live in the equivalent to a giant prison camp forever?

Always a choice, but one with significant consequences as well. Specific to this conflict, Israel would probably regard that as an unjustifiable national security risk. If Hamas’ strategy of creating military installations in the urban areas of Gaza proves to be unbeatable - because Israel will not be allowed to use military force to dislodge them - then Hamas will have the power in perpetuity to pose a terror threat against Israel. Which is bad enough - but if Hamas is able to leverage the expected civilian casualties into persisting as an effective military and political organization, it will make a two-state solution all-but-impossible for the next decade or two.

And of course, in general we usually prefer committing war crimes to not be a successful battle field strategy. In this case, Hamas has invested enormous resources into embedding its military facilities, personnel, and materiel into civilian areas. If that ends up working - if that ends up effectively insulating them from counter-attack despite being contrary to international law - then it creates enormous incentives for other forces in other conflicts to shift towards those tactics. Which is also a bad outcome.

Which is not a surprise. There are no good outcomes. Only bad outcomes and more bad outcomes.


There are close to 2 million out of 2.2 million innocent civilians.

Hamas risks this war every other year with Israel.

Time to wipe out Hamas or see this war repeated within two years. And dozens of times after that if Hamas is allowed.

Hamas is not the Palestinian people.


Here’s the operative phrase from @albaby1
“That’s not likely to be practical.”

TPTB don’t want it.

The Gazans are not “worth” enough to the right groups… Or said differently, their only value is as pawns.

ralph is grateful to have won Buffet’s ovarian lottery.

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So mass murder by starvtion, lack of any water and medical help, and IDF attacks on civilians is Israel’s method of eliminating Hamas. In fact I think it is Israel’s secret method for the mass murder of Palestinians and elimination of Palestinians in Gaza. Israel wants all of all of Gaza and West Bank for Jews. The Western nations like the UK see this and know what is happening. The only impediement to the complete condemnation of Israel is the United States.


Happens endlessly in Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Somalia.

Equal time

Forget that Israel has to defend itself for a moment.

All Arab lives deserve better. From who? From their leadership. The Islamic schism is the problem.

Hamas is not that leadership.


Except - again - the UK hasn’t suspended arms exports to Israel. They’re only considering it if Israel launches the Rafah offensive. And - again - the ICC did not find that Israel is currently engaged in genocide against the Palestinian people, and only cautioned them not to engage in genocide.

The reason, of course, is that under the international laws of war you are allowed to defend yourself against an attacking belligerent force. If that attacking belligerent force has embedded itself in a civilian population, they have committed a war crime - and that does not mean that the attacking belligerent force cannot be engaged militarily simply because they’ve hidden in a civilian area. And that engagement can include the panoply of military responses - including trying to cut of supply lines and materiel to the belligerent force. Inescapably, because the belligerent force has violated international law by embedding in a civilian population, those lawful measures will have dire effects on that civilian population. But that does not mean that the belligerent force has gained immunity from those counterattacks.


I guess Hamas is having issues with its “from the river to the sea” slogan. It will likely be ALL ISRAEL “from the river to the sea”. Where the residents of Gaza end up is up to THEM.

They are all afraid of antagonizing the United States. If it were not for US, then Israel would have no chance of survival in this world. And yet Israelis are so stupid by biting the hand that keeps them safe. Israel is a governmental and political mess.

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The residents of Gaza have no say in where they will end up. With Israel commiting mass murder in Gaza with no where to go and now being starved to death with out food, water and medical support. No aid getting into Gaza because IDF will not let any into Gaza. Your statement is totally without any logic or truth.

They’re not stupid, they just view their security threats differently than the U.S. does, and know that their security interests are different than those of the U.S. A large portion of the Israeli electorate believes that the possibility of a peaceful two-state solution died with the Second Intifada and the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, and that a second state (that had its own army and air force) would lead far more quickly to the destruction of Israel than any other path.


More Israeli propaganda. Israelis are only good at propagand and electing the stupidist political leaders ever since Likud party won in the first place. Jews secret wish is to annex and control all of Gaza and the West Bank without Palestinians. They may get their secret wish but it will the end of Israel.