Hammond calls for Gaza ceasefire

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has blamed the latest fighting on Hamas (AP)

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has blamed the latest fighting on Hamas (AP)

First published in National News © by

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has called for a swift ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as he joined international diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Gaza amid growing concern at the rising civilian death toll.

At a joint news conference in Jerusalem with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Hammond put the blame for the latest outbreak of fighting firmly on Hamas while reiterating Britain's support for Israel's right to defend itself.

"Britain has also been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens but we are gravely concerned by the ongoing heavy level of civilian casualties. We want to see a ceasefire quickly agreed," he said.

"We welcomed the earlier ceasefire proposal by Egypt. We are disappointed that Hamas has once again apparently rejected ceasefire proposals."

Mr Netanyahu welcomed Britain's support and said his government would continue to take action to defend its citizens and dismantle Hamas's network of tunnels penetrating into Israeli territory.

He said: "I thank you for keeping your moral focus and your moral clarity. We shall need it in the days ahead."

With the Palestinian death toll reported to have reached at least 684, Mr Netanyahu expressed regret for the civilians who had died, but said that responsibility lay with Hamas and its allies in Islamic jihad.

"This use of human shields is extraordinarily cynical, it is grotesque, it's inhuman," he said.

He also bitterly condemned a vote by the United Nations Human Rights Council to stage an international inquiry into violations which may have been committed during Israel's latest military offensive.

"It is a travesty of justice, it is a travesty of fairness, it is travesty of common sense, it is a travesty of truth," he said.

"It will not prevent us from continuing to defend our people, to protect them against rocket attacks and to dismantle the vast terror tunnel network that we have seen that is geared to penetrate our territory."

Earlier, the UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Baroness Amos, joined the calls for an early ceasefire in Gaza in order to end the plight of civilians in trapped in increasingly desperate conditions.

"We are extremely concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation," she told the BBC.

"We have over 118,000 people now who are sheltering in UN schools. People are running out of food. Water is also a serious concern.

"With about 44% of Gaza not able to be used by Palestinians who are fleeing their homes, the situation is even more dire."

Comments (4)

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3:26pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Skipton man says...

Who ALWAYS breaks the ceasefires? Hamas, every time, so it's pointless asking for one.
The Palestinian's don't give a **** about their own people or anyone else's. Every civilian killed is just more fuel for the anti Israeli brigade. And just so you know, I don't particularly like either side, but it's just a fact.
Who ALWAYS breaks the ceasefires? Hamas, every time, so it's pointless asking for one. The Palestinian's don't give a **** about their own people or anyone else's. Every civilian killed is just more fuel for the anti Israeli brigade. And just so you know, I don't particularly like either side, but it's just a fact. Skipton man
  • Score: -1

11:05am Fri 25 Jul 14

Dr Martin says...

Here are some more facts

131 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,685 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000.


1,148 Israelis and at least 7,710 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000
Here are some more facts 131 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,685 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. 1,148 Israelis and at least 7,710 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000 Dr Martin
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Shropshirelad says...

Skipton man, sorry, you have no idea of what you are talking about. You are just another Israeli apologist who believes every lie, every bit of propaganda put out by the Israeli savages. As for Hammond, a more deceitful, treacherous and unprincipled Foreign Secretary it is difficult to imagine. Cameron and he are 100% supporters of the Israeli position both in and on the situation in the Middle East. They say they speak for us and would have Israel believe that all British citizenry supports their unspeakable acts. Lies and deceit, three quarters of the Westminster Tories are paid up members of the Conservative Friends of Israel Association. Well, they don't speak for me or increasing numbers of other people. Thank goodness the decent, humane people of this country are at last seeing Israel for what she is. A cruel, brutal, uncivilised bunch of savages who do not deserve to be included in the brotherhood of decent countries.
Israel could stop all the trouble in Palestine overnight if she wished, all she has to do is return all the stolen land to the Palestinians, treat them as human beings and equal to any other race, stop building illegal settlements, allow all the displaced refugee Palestinians to return to their homes and stop all the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people. The fact that Israel knows this, has no intention whatsoever of doing these things indicates that Israel has no intention of making peace, stopping the war/s and behaving like a civilised member of the United Nations who's resolutions she so frequently fails to obey or conform with.
If any people did in this country, what Israel is doing in Palestine, you, I and thousands like us would hopefully do exactly what the Palestinians are doing in Gaza, or are you a coward who would let invaders trash our country and let them do as they like just as the Israelis do.It is my hope, that the Conservatives will not get one Muslim vote in the next election.
And just for your information, with one exception, Israel has deliberately sabotaged every single peace negotiation with the Palestinians since 1948, their Modus Operandi is to provoke a situation whereby the Palestinians have to respond, the Israelis then respond to that with overwhelming brutality and the situation goes back to square one. You believe to many Israeli lies- approach the matter more intelligently.
Skipton man, sorry, you have no idea of what you are talking about. You are just another Israeli apologist who believes every lie, every bit of propaganda put out by the Israeli savages. As for Hammond, a more deceitful, treacherous and unprincipled Foreign Secretary it is difficult to imagine. Cameron and he are 100% supporters of the Israeli position both in and on the situation in the Middle East. They say they speak for us and would have Israel believe that all British citizenry supports their unspeakable acts. Lies and deceit, three quarters of the Westminster Tories are paid up members of the Conservative Friends of Israel Association. Well, they don't speak for me or increasing numbers of other people. Thank goodness the decent, humane people of this country are at last seeing Israel for what she is. A cruel, brutal, uncivilised bunch of savages who do not deserve to be included in the brotherhood of decent countries. Israel could stop all the trouble in Palestine overnight if she wished, all she has to do is return all the stolen land to the Palestinians, treat them as human beings and equal to any other race, stop building illegal settlements, allow all the displaced refugee Palestinians to return to their homes and stop all the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people. The fact that Israel knows this, has no intention whatsoever of doing these things indicates that Israel has no intention of making peace, stopping the war/s and behaving like a civilised member of the United Nations who's resolutions she so frequently fails to obey or conform with. If any people did in this country, what Israel is doing in Palestine, you, I and thousands like us would hopefully do exactly what the Palestinians are doing in Gaza, or are you a coward who would let invaders trash our country and let them do as they like just as the Israelis do.It is my hope, that the Conservatives will not get one Muslim vote in the next election. And just for your information, with one exception, Israel has deliberately sabotaged every single peace negotiation with the Palestinians since 1948, their Modus Operandi is to provoke a situation whereby the Palestinians have to respond, the Israelis then respond to that with overwhelming brutality and the situation goes back to square one. You believe to many Israeli lies- approach the matter more intelligently. Shropshirelad
  • Score: 1

8:09pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Shropshirelad says...

2005. It has just been announced that Israel has rejected the peace plan put forward by Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations and John Kerry, the US Secretary. Israel does not want peace, she knows that if peace comes about (very unlikely), she will have to negotiate conditions in the West Bank and Gaza to the situation in 1967. In the meantime, she just wishes to make the situation more intractable by killing Palestinian children.
2005. It has just been announced that Israel has rejected the peace plan put forward by Ban Ki Moon of the United Nations and John Kerry, the US Secretary. Israel does not want peace, she knows that if peace comes about (very unlikely), she will have to negotiate conditions in the West Bank and Gaza to the situation in 1967. In the meantime, she just wishes to make the situation more intractable by killing Palestinian children. Shropshirelad
  • Score: 1
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