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UK charity urges end to arms trade deals with Israel

The Human Aid and Advocacy has bought spots in 98 locations across the United Kingdom for its #notogenocide campaign. (Photo by MEE)

A British charity has launched a nationwide billboard campaign that calls on the UK government to end its arms sales and trade agreements with Israel.

The Human Aid and Advocacy, which works worldwide, has launched its “No to Genocide” campaign in 98 locations across the United Kingdom.

Using quotes from Israeli minister of military affairs Yoav Gallant declaring a “complete siege on Gaza,” as well as pictures of starvation unfolding in the Palestinian territory, the British charity said it aims to mobilize communities to stand up for Palestine.

Nur Chowdhury, the founder of the Human Aid and Advocacy, said the group had been organizing the campaign for nearly a month but faced delays due to some advertising agencies canceling at the last minute.

“We originally planned to go with one company, but despite our advert not breaking their terms and conditions, they refused because they thought it could offend someone,” Chowdhury told the Middle East Eye.

“We then exchanged emails with the company and found another one that said they’d take on our advert if the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) approved it. The ASA admitted that we might court some controversy given the topic we are running an advert for but concluded that it did not breach any of the rules.”

Responding to claims that the billboard campaign was provocative, Choudhury said the advert was factual and that the ASA had approved the facts before being placed on billboards.

Choudhury, who has a team working in Gaza, also told the UK-based news website that 18 members of his team have been killed in Israel’s incessant bombardment of Gaza over the past months.

“There is a degree of hypocrisy in how, on the one hand, the US and Britain are dropping aid and, on the other hand, selling the arms being used to kill Palestinians in Gaza,” he said. “The whole situation is dehumanizing to the Palestinians and creating havoc on the ground.”

The billboard campaign comes as pressure is mounting on Britain and its other Western allies to stop selling arms to Israel amid the rising death toll from the months-long war on Gaza and warnings by the United Nations that an Israeli-made famine is imminent in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7, 2023, after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The regime has also cut off fuel, electricity, food, and water to more than two million Palestinians living there.

Israel has killed at least 32,623 Palestinians and injured more than 75,092 others in Gaza since the beginning of its genocidal war on the besieged territory.

MPs call for reinstating UNRWA funding ‘without delay’

On Friday, British parliamentarians urged the UK government to immediately restore funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), amid widespread hunger and an unfolding famine in Gaza.

In a letter to UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, 50 MPs and members of the House of Lords urged the government to reinstate funding for the agency “without delay.”

“The UK has long been a champion of humanitarian causes and a staunch supporter of UNRWA’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian refugees,” the letter said. “It will send a powerful message of solidarity to those affected by the crisis in Gaza and reaffirm the UK’s leadership in global humanitarian efforts.”

UNRWA is the primary UN agency delivering healthcare and essential humanitarian support to the Palestinians trapped in the besieged territory.

In a statement in late January, the UK government announced that it was pausing funding to UNRWA in the wake of Israel’s baseless claims that the agency staff were involved in Operation Al-Aqsa Storm.

On Friday, 115 parliamentarians called on London to pressure Israel not to use starvation as a weapon of war, resume UNRWA funding and set a deadline by which Israel must abide by the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Earlier this week, over 130 parliamentarians also called for a halt to arms sales to Israel.

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