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Corbyn calls for freeze on British arms sales to Israel

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a British arms embargo against Israel after a UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry said that the Israeli occupation forces has likely committed war crimes on the Gaza border.

“The UN says Israel’s killings of demonstrators in Gaza – including children, paramedics and journalists – may constitute ‘war crimes or crimes against humanity,’” Corbyn said in Twitter remarks.

“The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killings and freeze arms sales to Israel,” he added.

The independent Commission of Inquiry, set up last year by the UN Human Rights Council, said in a recent report that Israeli forces killed 189 people and shot more than 6,100 others with live ammunition near the fence that divides the two territories.

The Commission said in the report that it had found “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such.”

The UN investigators specified that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli troops killed and maimed Palestinians “who were neither directly participating in hostilities, nor posing an imminent threat”.

The UN team also dismissed claims by Israel that the protests were aimed to conceal acts of terrorism.

“The demonstrations were civilian in nature, with clearly stated political aims,” the report said.

“Despite some acts of significant violence, the Commission found that the demonstrations did not constitute combat or military campaigns.”

The commission said it conducted 325 interviews with victims, witnesses and other sources, while reviewing more than 8,000 documents.

The investigators also looked at drone footage and other audiovisual material, according to the commission.

It said it heard from 15 contributors from the Israeli side, including non-governmental organizations, but got no cooperation from the Israel government.

“The Israeli authorities did not respond to repeated requests by the Commission for information and access to Israel and to the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” their report affirmed.