British Foreign Minister David Cameron has said he is worried that Israel’s war on Gaza may have included breaches of international law, and while the advice he received so far was that Israel was compliant, there were questions to answer.
Speaking to the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Cameron said some of what he had seen during the war in the besieged Palestinian territory was “deeply concerning”.
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Asked during a question-and-answer session with lawmakers if Israel could be “vulnerable to a challenge” from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague over whether its actions were proportionate, Cameron said the stance was “close to that”.
While the former prime minister did not directly answer questions about whether he had received legal advice that Israel might have broken the law, he said some incidents had raised questions over whether there had been breaches.
“Am I worried that Israel has taken action that might be in breach of international law because this particular premises has been bombed, or whatever? Yes, of course,” Cameron said.
He added that there was always a “question mark” over whether a given incident had broken international law, which lawyers would examine and advise him over.
“The advice has been so far that they [Israel] have the commitment, the capability and the compliance [with international law], but on lots of occasions, that is under question,” he said.
The United Kingdom has reaffirmed its support for Israel multiple times and backed its right to defend itself against Hamas, but has also called on the Israeli military to show restraint and act within international law in its offensive in Gaza.
The Foreign Affairs Committee scrutinises the work of the UK’s foreign ministry, to which Cameron was appointed late last year.
During Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza, at least 23,210 people have been killed, according to the Palestinian health ministry, and most homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed.
Cameron, who sits in the parliament’s upper chamber as an unelected minister, said it would take “a giant effort” to rebuild Gaza due to the level of destruction being so “great”.
“We’re going to need as many people as possible. It will take more than any one country to do it,” he said.
He also said that he had seen figures that show Hamas fighters had lost “over 50 percent of their capability and capacity” to fire rockets into Israel.
Amid growing concern over the Gaza death toll and the South Africa genocide case against Israel, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israeli leaders on Tuesday to avoid future harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.