National Jewish Assembly Takes Issue With Wes Streeting’s Remarks on Israel’s Defensive Actions in Gaza

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) strongly condemns the recent comments made by Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting regarding Israel’s defensive operations in Gaza. Streeting’s assertion that Israel has gone “beyond reasonable self-defence” is not only baseless but dangerously mischaracterises the situation.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is a legitimate act of self-defence in response to continuous terrorist attacks orchestrated by Hamas, a recognised terrorist organisation, which has also vowed to continue committing acts of terror and attempt to repeat the October 7 massacre in the future. With thousands of rockets indiscriminately launched towards civilian population centres in Israel, fired from Gazan population centres and civilian infrastructure, the Israeli government has a moral and legal obligation to protect its citizens and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure threatening their safety.

Streeting’s claim that Israel may have breached international law lacks foundation and undermines the fundamental principles of self-defence enshrined in international law. Israel’s actions are in full compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which explicitly recognises the inherent right of self-defence against armed attacks such as that perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, and the subsequent months of fighting.

Furthermore, Streeting’s suggestion that Israel’s defensive measures have resulted in a disproportionate loss of civilian life ignores the reality of Hamas’s deliberate use of human shields and its cynical exploitation of civilian infrastructure for military purposes. The loss of innocent lives is tragic, which is why Israel takes extensive precautions to minimise civilian casualties, including advanced warning systems and targeted strikes on terrorist installations.

The International Court of Justice’s investigation, referenced by Streeting, must not be used as a tool to delegitimise Israel’s right to self-defence. Rather, it should focus on holding Hamas accountable for its flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and its systematic targeting of Israeli civilians – not to mention the over 130 Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas who are still held in captivity in Gaza.

As representatives of the Jewish community, the NJA calls upon Streeting and the Labour Party to retract these misguided statements and to stand unequivocally in support of Israel’s legitimate efforts to defend itself against terrorist aggression. The NJA urges all parties to prioritise the safety and security of civilians on both sides of the conflict and to reject inflammatory rhetoric that only serves to escalate tensions further.

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