PFLP warns British troops in Gaza would be ‘legitimate target’

The Cradle, April 28, 2024 ─

Britain troops deployed to Gaza or its coast will be treated as occupying forces and will be legitimate targets for resistance, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) warned on 28 April.

The warning follows a BBC report on Saturday saying British troops could be deployed to assist with delivering aid to Gaza from an offshore port now under construction by the US military.

The BBC report, citing unidentified government sources, stated that the British government is considering deploying troops to drive the trucks that will carry aid from the port along a floating causeway to the shore.

Though US forces are building the port, White House officials have claimed that there would be no US “boots on the ground” in Gaza.

The British military is already involved in the port’s construction by providing logistical support, including a Royal Navy ship to house US soldiers and sailors working on the project.

British military planners are currently embedded at US Central Command in Florida, as well as in Cyprus, where aid will be screened before shipment to Gaza, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Friday.

“It is critical we establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza, and the U.K. continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support in coordination with the U.S. and our international allies and partners,” Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

Aid agencies have asked Israel to simply open the road crossings into Gaza to allow additional aid to reach the starving population.

The PFLP clarified that Britain’s justifications for sending troops to Gaza “are lies that deceive no one.” The resistance movement added that British claims about delivering aid “are merely a pretext for the permanent presence of military forces on the ground for malevolent colonial purposes and to protect the security of the Zionist entity. This is something our people and resistance are well aware of.”

Though US President Joe Biden announced the construction of the port as his own proposal in March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first suggested the idea to Biden in October.

Netanyahu has also suggested the port could help in the “voluntary” deportation of Gazans to third countries.

The PFLP issued a warning in March stating that the US plan to build a port on the Gaza coast is “suspicious and dubious,” as it would open the door to the forced displacement of Gaza’s population under humanitarian and other pretexts.

Fears of forced displacement via the port are rising, given Israeli threats to invade Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border, where 1.3 million people have sought refuge from Israeli bombing elsewhere in the strip. Such an invasion would cause a new wave of displacement and massive numbers of civilian deaths, aid officials and western diplomats have warned.

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