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Oxfam CEO Slams UK Arms Sales Amid Gaza Crisis
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By Anthony W. Haddad
Published 1 month ago on
June 17, 2024

Oxfam CEO criticizes the UK for selling arms to Israel while providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, calling it morally inconsistent. (AP File)

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Halima Begum, CEO of Oxfam GB, has criticized the UK government’s policy of simultaneously supplying arms to Israel while providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, calling it deeply contradictory,  The Guardian reports.

Despite widespread international condemnation and accusations of violations of international law by both sides in the conflict, UK ministers have refused to suspend arms exports to Israel, prompting legal challenges, in which Oxfam has been granted permission to intervene.

In an interview with The Guardian, Begum argued passionately against the UK’s stance, stating that selling arms, whether as components or whole weapons, contributes to the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza. She emphasized the moral and intellectual inconsistency of providing humanitarian aid on one hand while facilitating the supply of weapons that exacerbate the conflict on the other.

Oxfam is a UK nonprofit that fights poverty worldwide.

Begum’s Visit to Israel Furthers Her Concern

Begum’s recent visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank further her concerns. Despite being unable to enter Gaza due to ongoing military actions, she was deeply affected by firsthand accounts of the humanitarian crisis from Palestinian colleagues. She highlighted the devastation faced by Gazan children, including bombings, malnutrition, and the looming threat of famine.

Begum referenced past decisions by Western governments to suspend arms sales to Israel, such as during the Lebanon war in 1982, citing humanitarian concerns that influenced those actions. She stressed the importance of adhering to humanitarian law and human rights principles in international relations.

Begum criticized Western leaders for what she sees as a failure to uphold moral standards in addressing the Gaza conflict, contrasting this with the consensus among many countries in the global south. She expressed concerns that the UK’s stance could undermine international efforts to uphold humanitarian law and human rights in conflict zones.

The legal challenge against UK arms sales to Israel, led by Al-Haq and the Global Legal Action Network, echoes a previous successful case regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia, underscoring Oxfam’s commitment to accountability in global arms trade practices.

The UK government has chosen not to comment on Begum’s criticisms or the ongoing legal proceedings, maintaining its policy stance on arms exports.

Read more at The Guardian

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Anthony W. Haddad,
Multimedia Journalist
Anthony W. Haddad, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with his undergraduate degree and has an MBA at Fresno State, is the Swiss Army knife of GV Wire. He writes stories, manages social media, and represents the organization on the ground.

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