A hardline anti-Israel MP has been rebuffed by the government after calling for the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to the UK.
Zarah Sultana, the member of parliament for Coventry South, spoke in the House of Commons and called on the government to expel Tzipi Hotovely from the country, support South Africa’s case against Israel in The Hague and ban arm sales to the Jewish state.
Replying on behalf of the government, foreign office minister Andrew Mitchell said the government was pushing for a “sustainable ceasefire” adding that the Foreign Secretary’s assessment that Israel was operating within international law still stands.
Last week, Hotovely, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, spoke with broadcaster Iain Dale on LBC and her comments have come under scrutiny for suggesting that every building in Gaza is a legitimate target given the presence of Hamas’s underground tunnels.
In response to Dale’s question about Israel’s campaign in the Strip, Hotovely said: "Gaza has an underground tunnel city, and to get to this underground tunnel city, those areas must be destroyed.
“And one of the things we realised was that every school, every mosque, every second house, has access to tunnels.”
When Dale pressed Hotovely that she was essentially making “an argument for destroying the whole of Gaza”, Hotovely replied: “Do you have another solution for how to destroy the underground tunnel city where the terrorists hide?”
Sultana, invoked Hotovely’s recent comments during a parliamentary session on Tuesday, accusing her of “genocidal rhetoric.”
“Genocidal rhetoric like this has been echoed by a litany of Israeli officials and is matched by a murderous bombing campaign that has now killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, which is now why Israel faces the charge of genocide at the International Court of Justice.”
It is not the first time there have been calls for Hotovely’s removal; following her appointment in 2020, some in the British Jewish community expressed outrage at her nomination for ambassador, and hundreds signed a petition to reject the appointment over Hotovely’s “record of racist and inflammatory behaviour.”
A petition calling on the government to expel Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely from the UK has reached over 110,000 signatures.
The description of the current petition calling for Hotovely’s expulsion, posted by Dr. Asim Suleman last month, said:
“I am deeply concerned about the potential radicalisation of our UK population due to the presence and influence of the current Israeli Ambassador. As a citizen who values peace, unity, and respect for all, I find it alarming that an ambassador could potentially incite division and extremism within our society.