Menzies Campbell, leader of UK's Liberal Democrats
LONDON (EJP)--- The leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, Menzies Campbell, has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair asking him to immediately cease military exports to Israel.
In his letter, Campbell wrote: "The government is right to ensure there are no arms transfers, either direct or indirect, from the UK to Syria, Iran or illegal armed groups such as the military wing of Hezbollah.
"Kofi Annan (the UN secretary general) has said attacks in Lebanon are inflicting collective punishment on the Lebanese people and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator has described attacks on Beirut as a ’violation of humanitarian law’.
"The government must now comply with its own arms export rules and institute an immediate suspension of all UK arms exports to Israel." "Collective punishment"
Campbell was referring to UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland who made the references to violations of humanitarian law. Egeland was attacked for her disproportionate comments from many quarters not least from American representative to the UN John Bolton who said as a lawyer Egeland should have a command of all the facts before reaching any judgment.
In America, "prosecutors are not supposed to threaten people in public based on press reports," Mr. Bolton told CNN yesterday. "I would just say as one lawyer to another to Mrs. Arbour that she should consider her professional ethics and responsibilities very carefully here."
"Entire career spent attacking Israel"
Campbell was also on the BBC last night as part of a panel discussion on the Middle East conflict. In a panel which did not have one panelist which even purported to give a pro-Israeli opinion, Campbell stood out as particularly critical.
One Times columnist described Campbell as "a man whose entire career has been spent attacking Israeli policy, whatever it happens to be."
In a recent House of Commons debate the Liberal Democrat leader asked PM Blair to intervene more in the conflict.
The Prime Minister replied: "May I just point out that our influence with Hezbollah has been somewhat limited."
Blair continued saying that British influence over Israel, Iran or Syria is also "somewhat limited".
There was no immediate response from the Prime Minister’s office to Campbell’s letter.
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