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Aug 7th, 2014

David Cameron: Stop selling arms to Israel

By Rebecca Falcon

Day after day we see shocking images from Gaza – men, women and innocent children being killed, injured and driven from their homes. The war is over 2,300 miles away. But the Israeli army is using weapons containing British-made parts, sold to the Israeli government with the consent of the UK government.

Pressure is mounting on the UK government to stop sending British weapons into this warzone. Other European countries such as Spain have already announced a ban. Senior MPs from all parties are starting to speak out. Now we need to get David Cameron to do the same.

A big petition now, signed by thousands of us, can help prove that the British public want our government to make a stronger stand for peace. If enough of us sign, it will be handed in to 10 Downing Street next week. You can sign the petition here.

David Cameron is already under pressure to act. On Monday, Baroness Warsi, a senior minister, resigned. She said the government’s policy on Israel was “morally indefensible”. And yesterday, another former cabinet minister, Andrew Mitchell, backed an embargo.

It’s at moments like these when targeted public pressure can push things in the right direction.

We’ve all watched the conflict unfold with a growing sense of frustration and despair. It’s easy to feel powerless. And it’s true that stopping sales of UK arms to Israel won’t, on its own, bring about peace – the crisis in the middle east has deep and difficult roots, and no side is blameless.

But thousands of 38 Degrees members have been in touch over the past few days to say that even if it’s difficult and the chances of success are slim, we should still be doing all we can. And that if you want to promote peace, you don’t sell weapons to either side.

Each week a random sample of 38 Degrees members are polled on what 38 Degrees’ priorities should be. This week, 85% said an arms embargo to promote peace in the Middle East should be a priority.

The UK has, rightly, already got controls in place to stop British-made weapons going to Hamas – it’s time to ban arms sales to Israel too.

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