British PM quizzed over shocking Gaza video

ITV News footage shows a civilian brandishing a white flag being shot dead

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been questioned over an ITV News video which shows a civilian being shot dead while waving a white flag in Gaza. The shocking images have sparked war crime accusations, and Sunak was challenged to give his reaction on Wednesday.

The video taken the previous day by Mohammed Abu Safia, an ITV News cameraman, showed a group of civilians in the enclave holding a white flag. An English-speaking man says they are trying to go back to an area under fire to rescue relatives. Moments later, one of the men is fatally shot in the chest.

The Israel Defense Forces dismissed the video in a statement to ITV News, calling it a “despicable accusation” that “can only be deemed as an extension of Hamas’ propaganda effort to defame the IDF.”

During Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions, Scottish National Party MP Stephen Flynn challenged Sunak over the incident, asking him if “such an act constitutes a war crime?”

In response, Sunak said “international humanitarian law should be respected, and civilians should be protected.” But Flynn pushed him further, saying: “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask the prime minister of the United Kingdom to rise to that dispatch box and tell the people of these isles and elsewhere, that shooting an unarmed man walking under a white flag is a war crime.”

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No evidence of intentional Israeli war crimes in Gaza – US

Labour MP Tahir Ali also bitterly criticized the prime minister over the Israel-Gaza conflict, saying he had “the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands,” and asking him if it was time to commit “to demanding an immediate ceasefire and an ending of the UK’s arms trade with Israel.”

In December, Human Rights Watch said selling weapons to Israel could make the UK complicit in war crimes. Since 2015, Britain has licensed at least £474 million ($600 million) worth of military exports to the Jewish state, including components for combat aircraft, tanks, missiles, and ammunition. The UK provides approximately 15% of the components for the F-35 stealth fighter currently being used in Gaza, according to the organization, which argues that open licenses lack transparency and allow for unlimited quantities of weapons exports.

More than 25,000 people – mostly civilians – have been killed in the Palestinian enclave since the war began, according to Gaza health officials. Hamas triggered the conflict by launching surprise attacks on Israel that killed some 1,200 people.

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