Layla Moran says 'traumatised' family has escaped Gaza as she reveals 'treacherous journey' faced by relatives

4 April 2024, 17:17 | Updated: 4 April 2024, 18:02

UK must 'immediately stop' selling arms to Israel if it has broken humanitarian law, MP Layla Moran says
UK must 'immediately stop' selling arms to Israel if it has broken humanitarian law, MP Layla Moran says. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Layla Moran has confirmed her Palestinian family has now escaped Gaza after facing a 'treacherous journey' through the war-torn region.

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The MP, 41, confirmed her relatives had now fled to safety in Bahrain but had been left "traumatised" by their journey through the near-demolished Gaza City.

Despite the relief for her family, Ms Moran described the news as "bittersweet" as she wished she "could do this for the other two million people" still in Gaza.

"They had to make that treacherous journey from Gaza City, through the checkpoints, Lord knows how, to Rafah. And there are nightmarish stories before they even began," she told The News Agents.

Ms Moran also called on the UK to "immediately stop" selling arms to Israel if it has broken international law, as pressure grows on the government and Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron to publish legal advice he has received on Israel's actions in Gaza.

Listen to the full interview on The News Agents podcast this evening on Global Player.

Layla Moran MP makes an emotional speech, after finding out a relative died in Gaza, November 15
Layla Moran MP makes an emotional speech, after finding out a relative died in Gaza, November 15. Picture: Alamy

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The Lib Dem MP previously told The News Agents that one of her family's houses in Gaza was bombed by the IDF in the first week of retaliatory strikes following Hamas' October 7 onslaught.

She said she had not yet spoken to the family members directly following their arrival in Bahrain but would be speaking to them over video call in the next 48 hours.

"They need to sleep - and by all accounts, they are traumatised," she said.

Ms Moran, who is the foreign affairs spokesperson for her party, also addressed calls for the UK to stop arms trade with Israel following claims by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairwoman Alicia Kernes that the government received advice telling them the IDF had broken international law in Gaza.

She said: ‘If what Alicia Kearns says is true, which is that they have received advice to say that they are likely or have broken the law, then, yes. I think the only conclusion you can come to is that the government has turned a blind eye.

She said if the claims, originally reported by The Observer, are true, and the government has "chosen to not heed that advice, and cracked on and not done what it should have done which is to immediately stop any arms trade with Israel".

Ms Moran continued: "If we are seeing now that the government has seen advice to say, not only is this politically the wrong thing to do, not only is it the morally wrong thing to do, but it's also the legally wrong thing to do.

"I think that's something that the ethics advisor needs to be looking at."

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron attends a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, Thursday
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron attends a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, Thursday. Picture: Alamy

It comes as pressure grows around Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron to publish legal advice he has received on Israel's actions in Gaza following claims UK Government lawyers believe it has broken humanitarian law.

Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Alicia Kearns said she was convinced the government had concluded that Israel was not demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, but had refused to confirm that publicly.

The Foreign Office said advice on Israel's compliance with international law was kept under review, but it would remain confidential.

A leaked recording of Ms Kearns disclosed that she believes the Government has received advice that Israel is flouting the law.

Answering questions at an "evening drinks reception" hosted by the West Hampstead and Fortune Green Conservatives in London on March 13, she said: "The Foreign Office has received official legal advice that Israel has broken international humanitarian law but the Government has not announced it.

"They have not said it, they haven't stopped arms exports.

"They have done a few very small sanctions on Israeli settlers - and everyone internationally is agreed that settlers are illegal, that they shouldn't be doing what they're doing, and the ways in which they have continued and the money that's been put in."

Arms export licences cannot be granted if there is a clear risk the weapons could be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

In response to the leaked recording she told the Observer: "I remain convinced the Government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make.

"Transparency at this point is paramount, not least to uphold the international rules-based order."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We keep advice on Israel's adherence to international humanitarian law under review and ministers act in accordance with that advice, for example when considering export licences.

"The content of the Government's advice is confidential."

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