Rishi Sunak and Israeli president Isaac Herzog—war criminals in arms (Picture: Flickr/Downing Street)

In a serious escalation of British backing for Israel, the Royal Air Force will conduct surveillance flights over Gaza. The Ministry of Defence revealed on Saturday night that it is sending several Shadow R1 reconnaissance aircraft.

A military spokesperson confirmed “surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza”. 

British sources claim that the unarmed aircraft have no military role. They say that “only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue”. 

That’s completely unbelievable. If the British had information about Hamas forces, does anyone think they would not tell the Zionist army? And how does overhead surveillance assist if, as is constantly said, Hamas keeps hostages in underground tunnels?

The US has been playing the same lying game for weeks. It has flown drones over Gaza and off the coast of Lebanon at least since the start of November. US officials insisted that the intelligence gathered by the drones and shared with Israel is used to conduct lethal strikes against Hamas leaders and positions.

But several of these officials acknowledged to CNN news that any information “could also help track Hamas’s activities beyond holding hostages”. Britain previously sent warships and aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean to support Israel, but had not previously moved to back up the Israeli slaughter.

But it may have allowed US drones to fly from the British base in Cyprus. Socialist Worker last month defied a state gagging notice about British SAS special forces in Cyprus.

The Declassified website has revealed that 129 US air force personnel are permanently deployed to RAF Akrotiri. It is a staging post for bombing campaigns across the Middle East. The US spy force, the 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, is permanently deployed at Akrotiri.

Rishi Sunak may have confirmed Britain’s military involvement when he met Israel’s president Isaac Herzog at the Cop28 Summit in the UAE recently.

The government sickeningly claimed, “The prime minister once again emphasised the need to take all possible measures to avoid civilian casualties and significantly increase the flow of aid to Gaza.”

That is a cover for support while Israel carries out mass murder. On Sunday morning the government media office in Gaza said Israeli raids killed over  700 Palestinians in the previous 24 hours.

Israeli forces are pressing ahead with a ground offensive in the south of Gaza where now around 2 million people are crammed into greatly overcrowded areas. Israel pulled back its negotiators from Qatar on Saturday. Hamas said captive-prisoner swap talks will not resume until the Israeli onslaught in Gaza ends.

Settlers and Israeli armed forces are also continuing their assaults in the West Bank. Israel’s finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said last week, “There are 2 million Nazis in Judea and Samaria, who hate us exactly as do the Nazis of Hamas-ISIS in Gaza.” He was using the biblical term for the West Bank that is commonly used in Israel.

Israel’s genocidal logic, and Britain’s further backing for it, should be a spur for bigger and more militant protests.

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