Sunak urged not to sanction Israel as more than 1,000 top lawyers sign open letter to PM

Sunak urged not to sanction Israel as more than 1,000 top lawyers sign open letter to PM

WATCH HERE: 'Which side are YOU on?' Israeli MP BLASTS David Lammy for calling for aid suspension

GB News
Keith Bays

By Keith Bays

Published: 07/04/2024

- 11:25

Updated: 07/04/2024

- 12:46

A previous letter urging the PM to suspend aid was blasted as showing ‘serious ignorance’

Rishi Sunak has been urged not to sanction Israel by more than 1,000 top UK lawyers in a new open letter to the PM which made clear that there is ‘no legal obligation’ for the UK to take measures against the Israeli government.

Another letter signed by former Supreme Court President Baroness Hale, Lord Jonathan Sumption and other lawyers was recently sent to Sunak on April 3, urging the Prime Minister to halt the export of weapons to Israel.

Speaking on the new letter which spells out to the UK Government that there is ‘no legal obligation’ to sanction Israel, Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, said: “We now have over ‘1,100 signatories’ of the UKLFI letter ‘rebutting the anti-Israel letter’ which suggests that there is a serious risk of genocide in Gaza.”

Notable signatories to the new letter include Lord Dyson, Lord Pannick, Lady Cosgrove, Sir Michael Burton, Lord Wolfson, Baroness Deech, Lord Grabiner, Sir Ivan Lawrence, and Stephen Hockman. Hundreds of KCs, Solicitors and legal academics have also signed this letter.

Rishi Sunak

Sunak urged not to sanction Israel as more than 1,000 top lawyers sign open letter to PM


Turner claimed that signatories of the initial letter which called on the Prime Minister to stop sending military equipment to Israel, had shown ‘serious ignorance’ of ‘relevant International law’ and judgements made by the International Court of Justice.

The earlier letter also relies significantly on casualty figures supplied by the Hamas-run, Gaza Ministry of Health. Those figures do not differentiate between combatants and non-combatants, and appear to have been falsified, both in the overall numbers and in the breakdown of women, men, and children, according to several recent statistical analyses carried out.

Speaking to GB News about the letter sent by 600 other lawyers earlier this week, Turner said: “Those such as Lord Sumption made basic errors of law and fact, in asserting that the Israeli forces have acted disproportionately.

“Basing decisions on the total number of Palestinian casualties according to the fabricated statistics produced by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, while ignoring the number of combatants Israel has claimed to have killed.”

Lord Sumption told GB News: “I have read the LFI document and fundamentally disagree.

“I will address it more fully after consulting other signatories to the original letter to the PM.”

Theresa Villiers, who signed the document herself, added: “This sets out powerful legal arguments to rebut the allegations in the earlier letter from lawyers.

“We should continue to support the only democracy in the Middle East as it defends itself from a brutal terrorist attack.

“If we were to stop arms exports, other countries might do the same harming Israel’s capacity to win the war against Hamas.

“This new letter from hundreds of distinguished lawyers is a reminder of the clear case for maintaining arms exports to Israel. I hope it is taken very seriously by Ministers.”

Union Jack on aid package

Britain recently dropped several aid packages in Gaza


The new letter to the Prime Minister describes why the UK is not obligated to take actions such as suspending the sale of military equipment to Israel, suspending bilateral relations, imposing sanctions on the Israeli government and individuals, demanding a permanent ceasefire or resuming funding of the UNRWA.

In response, Andrew Percy MP, Vice-Chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel said: “I congratulate every one of the lawyers who have signed this letter, for standing up for decency and democratic values.

“It would be an act of grotesque stupidity and self-harm to cut off the little and limited arms exports we have to Israel, whilst the Iranian regime in Tehran continue to arm the Hamas murder and rape terrorist cult.”

Percy added: “We should not abandon the Middle East's only democracy in its fight against Islamist terrorism, which not only hates Israel but hates and wishes to destroy everything it stands for.”

Lord Eric Pickles, Chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel in the House of Lords, said: “I am very pleased that reason is being heard, and this redresses a misunderstanding on the ICJ findings.”

Elsewhere, in November 2023 over 800 signatures were penned in a separate open letter, which then called on the UK to support a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

In response, Gary Mond, Chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, said: “Obtaining over 1,000 signatories from lawyers and legal experts to a letter pointing out the mistakes of those suggesting that Israel was breaking international law, in barely 48 hours, is a fantastic achievement by UK Lawyers for Israel.

“I hope that this result gets at least as much publicity nationally, and ideally much more, than that given to the 600 who called for an arms embargo on Israel.

“If not, then that will be a classic example of double standards from the media.”

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