Three former Supreme Court justices, including Lady Hale, have joined forces with over 600 lawyers, academics, and retired senior judges to caution the UK government against breaches of international law. Their concern stems from the continued supply of arms to Israel amid the ongoing war on Gaza.

In a letter addressed to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the signatories draw attention to the humanitarian situation in Gaza, highlighting the International Court of Justice’s identification of a risk of genocide. They claim that under international law, the UK bears a responsibility to prevent genocide and, therefore, must reconsider its stance on arms sales to Israel.

The 17-page letter, constituting a legal opinion, points out that despite governmental calls for a cessation of hostilities and unhindered humanitarian aid access to Gaza, the continued arms trade with Israel contradicts these efforts. The threat of suspending aid to UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) falls short of the UK’s obligations under international law, according to the signatories.

Pressure on the government is mounting, especially from Conservative MPs, following the death of seven international aid workers, including three British citizens, in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. There’s speculation that Foreign Secretary David Cameron has advocated for a tougher stance on Israel.

Three Tory backbenchers and a former minister, now in the Lords, are pushing for the UK to halt arms exports to Israel in the wake of the deadly airstrike. A recent YouGov poll reflects a substantial disconnect between government policy and public sentiment, with a majority of voters (56% to 17%) supporting an arms ban.

The letter urges the UK government to work towards a permanent ceasefire and impose sanctions on individuals and entities inciting genocide against Palestinians. It also stresses the imperative need to restore funding to UNRWA for effective humanitarian assistance in Gaza and to prevent genocide, highlighting the withdrawal of funding following allegations made by Israel against 12 staff members of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

World Central Kitchen founder alleged that they “systematically” destroyed the three vehicles carrying the seven aid workers. The founder demands that nations involved launch an independent investigation into the killings to ensure accountability.

Israel called up air defence reservists following a suspected missile attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria. The attack resulted in the death of senior Revolutionary Guard generals.

The death toll of the ongoing war on Gaza continues to rise, with at least 33,037 Palestinians killed and 75,668 wounded by Israeli forces since 7 October.

Criticism against Israel mounts as it is accused of violating the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures for protecting Palestinian rights and disregarding the UN Security Council’s resolution calling for a ceasefire. The atrocities committed by Israel in Gaza are viewed as a breach of fundamental international legal principles.