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Britain’s complicity in Gaza war

Tehran Times – A leaked report has thrown a spotlight on Britain’s active complicity in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

Since Israel launched war on the Gaza Strip on October 7, the eyes of the world have been fixed on Washington’s unequivocal political and military support for Israel. 

But findings by Declassified UK, a news website focused on British foreign policy, have revealed that London has also been working hand in glove with the Israeli army which has slaughtered nearly 35,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip over the past seven months.   

According to information obtained by Declassified UK, the Royal Air Force (RAF)–Britain’s air and space force–has flown 200 surveillance flights over Gaza in support of Israel since December 3rd. 

According to the revelations, all the British spy flights have taken off from RAF Akrotiri, the UK’s sprawling air base on Cyprus, and have been in the air for around six hours. They show that the RAF has likely gathered about 1,000 hours of surveillance footage over Gaza.

A day before conducting the mission, Britain’s Defense Ministry announced that the country’s army would carry out surveillance flights over Gaza to help locate captives held by Hamas. 

Over 1,100 people were killed and nearly 250 others were taken captive when Hamas launched a surprise military operation in southern Israel on October 7. More than 100 captives were freed following a swap deal in late November. Dozens of Israeli and foreign captives remain in Gaza. 

“In support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity, the UK Ministry of Defence will conduct surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement on December 2.

“Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages….Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue,” the statement added. Nonetheless, the assertions have raised serious doubts. 

On February 13, a British Shadow R1 plane landed in the Israeli city of Beersheba in the Negev desert, which is home to the Israeli Air Force’s Nevatim base, Declassified UK revealed.

The investigative news outlet said the spy aircraft stayed there for two hours before flying back to the UK base in Cyprus. It added that a British spy flight was in the air when three Britons were killed in an Israeli strike on aid workers in Gaza on April 1st. 

They were among seven staff members of the World Central Kitchen workers who were killed in the attack in Gaza. They were delivering food to hungry Palestinians in the besieged territory where famine is spreading rapidly.  The Israeli killings of the aid workers sparked international condemnation. 

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has been questioned by British lawmakers whether his department would release the footage that the spy drone has recorded but he has parried all the questions. 

 Undoubtedly, around 1,000 hours of surveillance footage that has been recorded by the UK spy planes include the videos of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza. It stands out a mile that Britain’s refusal to share the footage is aimed at covering up Israel’s atrocities in the Gaza Strip. 

Israel stands accused of committing genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Israel has rebuffed the United Nations’ top court ruling which ordered the regime late January to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza.

Israel has escalated its deadly war campaign in Gaza since the ICJ issued the ruling. Growing war crimes committed by Israel have raised speculations that the international

Criminal Court (ICC) is set to issue arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some other senior Israel officials.

The UK has criticized Israel for killing Palestinian civilians in Gaza but it has provided the regime with huge amounts of weapons which have been used in the war on the besieged territory.

This brings to light Britain’s hypocrisy and double-dealing. 

According to Declassified UK, Shadow R1 spy plane can supply intelligence for “target acquisition’. 

Hence, Britain’s claim of using the surveillance flights to locate captives is just a smokescreen to distract attention from its complicity in Israel’s crimes in Gaza and avoid accountability for its role in perpetuating the regime’s human rights violations. If the UK was sincere, it would release the footage its aircraft has recorded. 

Britain like the United States regards Israel as its main ally in West Asia. What matters to Washington and London is preserving Israel and their crocodile tears for Palestinian civilians is just aimed at appeasing domestic opposition to the bloodbath that the regime has unleashed in Gaza. 

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