SNP urges Cameron to be ‘on right side of history’ after ICJ’s Israel ruling

The Foreign Secretary should ensure the UK is “on the right side of history” following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The UN court stopped short of ordering a ceasefire in Gaza in a ruling published on Friday following an action brought by South Africa, but demanded Israel try to contain death and damage.

With shadow foreign secretary David Lammy calling on the Israeli government to comply “in full” with the ruling, the SNP has now pushed for the UK Government to apply pressure to the Netanyahu regime.

In a letter to Lord Cameron, Brendan O’Hara, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman said “one could argue that it needn’t take a ruling by a court to persuade a democratic, or morally sound, nation to take action to prevent genocide”, adding: “I hope that the Secretary of State will not need this letter to serve as a reminder of the legal obligations which now fall on the UK Government, legal obligations which should have been moral obligations three months ago.”

Mr O’Hara went on to urge the UK Government to avoid giving Israel a “blank cheque”, adding that “we are past turning a blind eye”.

He said: “I urge the UK Government to commit to standing with South Africa, on the right side of history.

Brendan O'Hara
The SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman wrote to Lord Cameron (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

“Today’s ruling will not end this war, but I am asking the UK Government to do what is right and adhere to the provisional measures.

“The UK Government must act swiftly and firmly to persuade its friend, Israel, to abide by the order and prevent acts of genocide against the Palestinian people.”

Mr O’Hara also called for the UK Government to “urge Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza”.

Responding to the ruling, a spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We respect the role and independence of the ICJ.

“However we have stated that we have considerable concerns about this case, which is not helpful in the goal of achieving a sustainable ceasefire.

“Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas in line with IHL, as we have said from the outset.

“Our view is that Israel’s actions in Gaza cannot be described as a genocide, which is why we thought South Africa’s decision to bring the case was wrong and provocative.

“We welcome the court’s call for the immediate release of hostages and the need to get more aid into Gaza.

“We are clear that an immediate pause is necessary to get aid in and hostages out, and then we want to build towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to the fighting.”