Judges and lawyers demand end to UK arms to Israel. It’s time the TUC called a general strike

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OVER 600 UK lawyers, academics and retired senior judges, including three former supreme court justices, have written to Rishi Sunak warning that the UK government is breaching international law by continuing to arm Israel.

The 17-page letter sent on Wednesday night, delivered a blunt legal opinion that given the International Court of Justice finding that there is a ‘plausible’ risk genocide is being committed by Israel in Gaza, the UK is legally obliged to act to prevent it.

The letter says: ‘While we welcome the increasingly robust calls by your government for a cessation of fighting and the unobstructed entry to Gaza of humanitarian assistance, simultaneously to continue (to take two striking examples) the sale of weapons and weapons systems to Israel and to maintain threats of suspending UK aid to UNRWA, falls significantly short of your government’s obligations under international law.’

The letter goes on to call for the Tories to ‘work towards a permanent ceasefire’ and impose sanctions ‘upon individuals and entities who have made statements inciting genocide against Palestinians’.

On the suspension of UK funding to UNRWA (the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza) following the unsubstantiated claim by Israel that 12 of its staff were involved in the October 7 action by Hamas, the letter states that restoring funding is necessary for ‘effective entry and distribution of the means of existence to Palestinians in Gaza, and by extension the prevention of genocide’.

The allegations made by the Israelis, without any shred of evidence, is part of the Israeli strategy to inflict starvation on Gaza by blocking food, destroying hospitals and killing over 200 aid workers in the past six months.

The Tories accepted the Israeli propaganda and suspended funding to UNRWA, while sweeping all the evidence of the genocidal war to inflict famine on Gaza under the carpet, refusing to call for a ceasefire and refusing to stop arms shipments to Israel.

As the letter points out, providing arms to Israel used to wage a genocidal war – that has killed over 33,000 Palestinians – is illegal under international law.

Matters came to a head this week with the deliberate targeting of three cars containing seven members of the World Central Kitchen charity (WCK) driving along a ‘safe’ highway after a food delivery to an aid warehouse in central Gaza.

The six foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver were killed after drones repeatedly hit their convoy, despite the cars being clearly marked with the WCK logo and their travel plans notified to the Israeli military.

This deliberate act of murder of seven aid workers, including three British citizens, couldn’t be swept aside as an accident, as the WCK founder said: ‘This was not a bad luck situations where, “oops”, we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,’ but the conscious targeting by the Israeli military.

These killings have massively increased the already overwhelming pressure on the Tories over their refusal to end arming Israel.

A YouGov poll published on Wednesday, conducted before Monday’s killing of WCK staff, showed that among all voters in the UK a majority of 56% to 17% support a ban on arming Israel.

While the working class and youth overwhelmingly demand action against Zionist genocide, the TUC has been completely silent, refusing to take any action or make any criticism of the genocidal war being waged with the support of the British arms industry.

The trade unions are the one force in Britain with the power to end the arming of Israel and the support of the UK government to the Zionist murder machine.

The time has come to force the TUC to use this power.

There must be an immediate campaign for a special TUC conference to call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a Workers Government that will end arming Israel and instead give every material support to the Palestinian fight for an independent state of Palestine .

The TUC leaders who refuse to call this action must be removed and replaced with a leadership prepared to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government and socialism.

Only the WRP and Young Socialists fight for this revolutionary programme – workers and youth must join today to lead the struggle for the victory of the world socialist revolution. There is no other way forward!