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Cameron urges Israel to follow aid strike dismissals with independent review

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Cameron urges Israel to follow aid strike dismissals with independent review

Lord Cameron looks for independent review on Israel findings

Israel must follow up its initial report into how three British aid workers were killed with “a wholly independent review to ensure the utmost transparency”, Lord David Cameron has said.

The UK will carefully review findings of the initial Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) report into the incident released on Friday, the Foreign Secretary added.

Three Britons were among the seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers who died in airstrikes carried out by the IDF on Monday.

They were John Chapman, 57, James “Jim” Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47.

Israeli officials have dismissed two officers over the strikes, which were described as a “grave mistake stemming from a serious failure”.

Three other senior officers were also reprimanded for their roles in the strike, which took place in Gaza.

The attack on the WCK aid convoy has resulted in rebuke from Israel’s allies, while MPs from across the political spectrum have questioned whether the UK should continue exporting arms to the Middle Eastern country.

Following the release of the report, Lord Cameron said: “We are carefully reviewing the initial findings of Israel’s investigations into the killing of WCK aid workers and welcome the suspension of two officers as a first step.

“These findings must be published in full and followed up with a wholly independent review to ensure the utmost transparency and accountability.”

He added: “Lessons must be learnt from today’s initial findings from the IDF.

“It’s clear major reform of Israel’s deconfliction mechanism is badly needed to ensure the safety of aid workers.

“The deaths of these brave heroes are a tragedy, and this must never happen again.”

Britain’s top diplomat to the UN, Barbara Woodward, meanwhile urged Israel to ensure aid workers are not targeted in future.

Speaking at the United Nations, the UK’s permanent representative said: “Aid workers should never be targeted. Over 200 have been killed in this conflict.

“Israel must do much more to protect them and to ensure their safety so they can deliver urgently needed life-saving humanitarian assistance.”

In its report, the IDF said it had identified a “gunman” on one of the aid organisation’s trucks, and assumed there were Hamas fighters in the vehicles.

The Israeli forces did not associate the vehicles with WCK and, as a result of “a misidentification”, carried out the strikes.

This action was “in serious violation of the commands and IDF Standard Operating Procedures”, the report found.

IDF spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner told the BBC: “I think this incident, this very tragic incident, is a very important part of our process of how we conduct ourselves and how we are operating in order to improve in the very challenging and complex situation of the battleground in Gaza.”

WCK founder Jose Andres claimed the Israeli military knew of his aid workers’ movements and targeted them “systematically, car by car”.

The charity described the IDF’s actions following the initial report as “important steps forward”.

But in a statement, it added: “Without systemic change, there will be more military failures, more apologies and more grieving families.

“The root cause of the unjustified rocket fire on our convoy is the severe lack of food in Gaza. Israel needs to dramatically increase the volume of food and medicine travelling by land if it is serious about supporting humanitarian aid.”

Israel had earlier announced it would open more land-based aid routes into Gaza, following pressure from US President Joe Biden to address the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territory.

Alicia Kearns, the Conservative chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, had said it was “devastating” that it had taken six months and the deaths of western aid workers for Israel to change course over the supply of international humanitarian aid.

Ms Kearns said she believed the Government had “no choice but to suspend arms sales” amid concerns about how Israel may be using British-made weapons.

Separately, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran has written to the Government’s independent ethics adviser, asking for a probe into whether Lord Cameron and Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch could be in breach of the ministerial code over continued UK arms sales to Israel.

She suggested the two senior Cabinet ministers may have breached the ministerial code by not publishing legal advice regarding arms exports, if they have received it.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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