Foreign Office notified of ‘serious risk of genocide’ in Gaza by International Centre of Justice for Palestinians

London, 22nd November 2023 – The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) has written to the Foreign Secretary putting the UK government on notice that there is now a serious risk of genocide being committed by Israel in Gaza. ICJP are also concerned that British citizens, including those with dual nationalities, are fighting as part of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and therefore are at risk of participating in war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide. 

Because the UK is a State party to the Genocide Convention, it is required to take steps to prevent and punish acts of genocide. There is now evidence that Israel may be in the process of committing the crime of genocide in Gaza. For example, Israel has bombed Gaza indiscriminately since 7th October 2023. 

This letter follows a previous enquiry made by ICJP to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) regarding the legality of Britons going to fight in Israel or Gaza. ICJP are yet to receive a response to this enquiry, noting that the government clearly stated that British citizens should not fight in Ukraine as they could be committing a criminal offence and that they may be prosecuted upon arrival back in the UK.

The news comes after the appointment of the new Foreign Secretary David Cameron. In 2010, he criticised Israel’s blockade of Gaza, saying that it had turned Gaza into a ‘prison camp’. 

Israel has deliberately targeted civilian infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, refugee camps, and places of worship. Israel has also cut off Gaza’s electricity supply, water, fuel, and food, which amounts to collective punishment. In addition to this, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has said ‘you must remember what Amalek has done to you’, referencing a bible scripture which states:

“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

Senior In House Legal Counsel Ilora Choudhury said: 

“In light of Netanyahu’s comments, the need to notify the government of the serious risk of genocide is more pressing than ever.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law. 
  2. The press release for the original communication to FCDO can be viewed here.
  3. For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact Public Affairs and Communications Officer Jonathan Purcell: [email protected]