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Suella Braverman says she 'is convinced Israel is not breaking international law or committing genocide' in Gaza

9 April 2024, 08:28 | Updated: 9 April 2024, 09:12

Suella Braverman on Israel's war with Hamas

By Kit Heren

Suella Braverman has said she "strongly rebuts" the suggestion that Israel is breaching international law in its war with Hamas, or that it is committing genocide in Gaza.

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The former Home Secretary, who has recently returned from a trip to Israel, also told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that the deaths of three British aid workers were "tragedy" - but should not stop the UK exporting arms for use by the IDF.

Israel's war in Gaza has claimed the lives of around 34,000 people over the past six months, according to Hamas, although Ms Braverman and others have said those numbers should be treated with caution.

The UK has put pressure on Israel after the deaths of the aid workers, with Foreign Secretary David Cameron calling for a "full, urgent, and transparent investigation" into the killings.

He also said that more must be done to get desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza - and that the UK's support for Israel was not unconditional.

Read more: Suella Braverman warns Iranian regime 'funding and supporting' 'targeted attacks' out on UK streets

Read more: Hamas rejects Israel's latest ceasefire proposal as Netanyahu confirms a 'date is set' for a Rafah ground offensive

Watch Again: Nick Ferrari is joined by ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman | 09/04/24

Ms Braverman said: "I don’t think we should support any other nation unconditionally. We don’t slavishly do so with any ally. But Israel is an ally - they’re one of the few democracies in the Middle East.

"And they have been under fierce attack, not just since October 7th but for many years."

She pointed out that Israel's forces are not just fighting Hamas - "they are fighting Hezbollah in the north, and they’re fighting the Iranian regime, and Shia militias in the region. They’re on the front line of a broader war that actually directly affects us in the UK."

The International Court of Justice ordered Israel in January to "take all measures within its power" not to commit genocide in Gaza, amid concerns from many international onlookers.

Ms Braverman said that she was "convinced" that Israel is staying within the bounds of international law.

Braverman: Iran is 'funding and supporting proxies to carry out attacks in the UK'

She told Nick: "On my trip I met with senior military and political figures... with senior ministers and with soldiers, with those in command and control positions.

"I’ve probed and I’ve tested - I’ve been very near to the border with Gaza, and I am convinced - and I say this as a former attorney general who dealt with matters of international law and military action - that I very strongly rebut suggestions that Israel is in breach of international law, that there’s a genocide, that there’s a forced starvation."

She said that on the contrary, "Israel is doing a huge amount using technology, sophisticated methods and a lot of care, to minimise civilian casualties, get aid into Gaza, and to comply with international law."

Ms Braverman also said she thought the government's legal advice on Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law should remain confidential, as is the convention.

A Palestinian child plays near a building destroyed by earlier Israeli bombardment in Gaza City
A Palestinian child plays near a building destroyed by earlier Israeli bombardment in Gaza City. Picture: Getty

Pressed by Nick on the deaths of British nationals John Chapman, 57, James "Jim" Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, who were among seven aid workers killed in an Israeli air strike on April 1, Ms Braverman said it was "a tragic attack".

She also offered condolences to the family and friends of the victims. "They were brave people, putting their lives in danger in the aid of humanitarianism," she said.

"They should not have been killed. It was a mistake. It was a mistake, and the Israelis have been very quick to accept responsibility, to investigate fully, and to apologise. They were incredibly regretful about it."

Ms Braverman said this was in contrast with Hamas, who celebrated the killing of innocent people on October 7.

She said that the IDF committed "a catalogue of errors" that led to the deaths of the aid workers in Gaza.

"They are going to change their processes to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again. But the reality is that these tragedies happen in war. And innocent civilians, sadly, very sadly, will die."

It comes after news emerged that Hamas had rejected Israeli's latest ceasefire proposal on Monday.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced there had been a 'date set' for a Rafah ground offensive, which onlookers fear will result in many more civilian casualties.

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