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‘Direct involvement in genocide’: Resistance groups slam UK aerial spying of Gaza

A flare falls over Gaza, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement expired, as seen from the southern sector of the 1948 Israeli-occupied territories, on December 3, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements in separate statements have denounced a decision by the United Kingdom to conduct surveillance flights over the Gaza Strip, calling the move a military involvement in the “genocidal war” on the besieged territory.

The statements came after the British Defense Ministry announced the decision on Saturday, to help locate captives held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Britain’s intention to carry out surveillance flights over the Gaza Strip makes it an accomplice to the Zionist occupation in its crimes, and responsible for the massacres to which our Palestinian people are subjected,” Hamas said in a statement released on Sunday.

The statement added that the UK should have “corrected its historically negative stance towards the Palestinian people,” and “atone for” the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which set out Britain’s aim to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

The declaration is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland. 

The statement said the Balfour Declaration is “the sin of the century,” stating that Britain is “making another mistake” and reminding the world of its "colonial and offensive" past.

Britain’s surveillance flights over the Gaza Strip will “put the British government at enmity with Palestinians and all freedom-loving people worldwide, who reject the Israeli aggression,” it added.

It called on Britain to “rescind its decision” for direct participation and political and financial support for the “genocidal war against Gaza.”

In a separate statement, the Islamic Jihad also decried Britain’s decision to monitor Gaza from above as “direct involvement in Israel’s aggression against Gaza.”

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance movements waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

Resistance fighters seized about 240 Israelis and foreign captives during their October 7 operation.

A 4-day truce agreement between Hamas and Israel went into effect on November 24 and was extended twice before it ended on Friday.

As part of the truce, Hamas released 110 out of 240 Israeli captives held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian abductees held illegally in Israeli prisons.

The Israeli army resumed bombing the Gaza Strip early on Friday after declaring an end to a week-long truce.

The Israeli aggression has so far killed at least 15,523 Palestinians, most of them women and children. Another 41,316 people have been wounded as well.

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