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UK MP quits defense post, suggests US-Israel bomb transshipments illegal

[JURIST] UK Labour Party MP Jim Sheridan [official website] resigned Wednesday from his government position as Parliamentary Private Secretary of the Defense Team, citing the Blair administration's reluctance to demand an immediate end to the ongoing Middle East conflict [JURIST news archive] and suggesting that the government's decision to allow US military flights transporting weapons to Israel [JURIST report] to refuel at UK airports en route to Israel may violate international human rights law. Earlier this month former UK Foreign Secretary and now Commons Leader Jack Straw spoke out against "disproportionate" Israeli strikes in Lebanon [BBC report] and there have been other signs of internal discontent [Telegraph report] with official British government policy on the conflict. Over 100 UK MPs, mostly Labor party members, are preparing to formally demand that Straw recall parliament [Guardian report] from an 11-week summer recess. BBC News has more.

Last week, British anti-war campaigners unveiled a legal campaign opposing UK complicity [JURIST report] in the violence. The activists may file lawsuits arguing that by allowing the flights, UK authorities are facilitating attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon [JURIST report] and are therefore involved in war crimes, in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF], the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] and the International Criminal Court Act 2001 [text].

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