France denies Russian claim of discussion on potential Ukraine talks

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Several Conservative politicians have called on the British government to stop exporting arms to Israel after seven aid workers, including three Britons, were killed on Tuesday by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

David Jones, the Conservative MP for Clwyd West, told the Guardian: “The government should urgently reassess its supply of arms and deliver a stern warning to Israel about its conduct.

“Israel has every right to defend itself and every right to act proportionately. That doesn’t include people who are trying to do good.

“Given that we’ve seen three British citizens — all of them ex-forces — killed in what is, at best, a negligent manner I think that we really need to reassess our supply of weaponry there.

“I thought that (Benjamin) Netanyahu’s response — ‘these things happen in war’ — was completely inadequate, frankly, shamefully inadequate.”

Flick Drummond, the Conservative MP for Meon Valley, said UK arms sales to Israel should be stopped “for the foreseeable future.”

“This has been concerning me for some time,” she said. “What worries me is the prospect of UK arms being used in Israel’s actions in Gaza, which I believe have broken international law.”

Hugo Swire, a former Foreign Office minister in David Cameron’s government, said: “What I do not support is the selling of arms which can be, and now look as if they are being, used offensively in Gaza.”

The calls to halt arms sales were supported by crossbench peer Peter Ricketts, who was a national security adviser to the government during Cameron’s leadership.

He told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program: “I think there’s abundant evidence now that Israel hasn’t been taking enough care to fulfill its obligations on the safety of civilians.

“And a country that gets arms from the UK has to comply with international humanitarian law. That’s a condition of the arms export license. So, honestly, I think the time has come to send that signal.

“It won’t change the course of the war. It would be a powerful political message. And it might just stimulate debate in the US as well, which would be the real game changer.”

The UK’s Liberal Democrats also called for the suspension of arms exports to Israel on Wednesday.

The aid workers — who also included a Palestinian, a US-Canadian dual citizen, a Pole and an Australian — were working for international charity World Central Kitchen to deliver food aid to Gaza when they were killed.

Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper that reported on the airstrike on Tuesday citing defense sources, said the drone fired three missiles at the convoy of three armored cars — all of which were clearly marked with the WCK logo on their roofs and sides — because they were suspected of transporting an armed militant.

The vehicles were hit while returning along a route preapproved and coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces, the report said.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for an urgent investigation into the Israeli airstrike.

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