In the light of Robert Fisk's recent article on the potential of British citizens serving in the Israeli military, I have written the following letter today to the Home Secretary.
Dear Home Secretary,
I have provided below a link to an article written by Robert Fisk, the much respected journalist and expert on the Middle East.
Here is the link to the Robert Fisk piece:
You will see that in this article he raises the question of the possibility of British passport holders fighting in the Israeli military or on behalf of the Israeli state in recent conflicts.
I am aware of the Government’s policy of detaining and prosecuting those British citizens travelling to fight in the current Middle East conflicts.
I am writing to ask if you are aware of how many British citizens are currently fighting with, or are intending to join, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in and around the Gaza Strip? Will you be making the necessary arrangements to assess the numbers involved?
Will you in your capacity as Home Secretary be advising all British citizens publicly that engagement with the IDF in the current onslaught on the population of Gaza puts them at strong risk of being held personally responsible for the war crimes currently being committed in the form of indiscriminate bombing, shelling, or firing that knowingly risks the lives of non-combatants, and the imposition of collective punishment, all of which are unlawful in international law?
Will you be explaining to them that association with those who are intentionally targeting civilians for political ends, or participation in such acts, would involve them in an association with or engaged in, the perpetration of acts that meet the statutory definition of terrorism in the UK?
Will you be warning any British citizens considering engagement with the IDF that, in line with established British Government practice (e.g. the deprivation of British citizenship from, to date, at least 40 UK passport holders who have been involved in the Syrian civil war), such engagement may put their British citizenship in jeopardy?
Given the seriousness of the current situation in Gaza and the apparent escalation of the Israeli attacks on Palestinians, I urge you to address these questions promptly so that any British citizen currently participating or planning to participate in these attacks is warned of the potential consequences and thus may be deterred from acting in this way.
John McDonnell MP