The former UK Defence Secretary, accuses Israel of instigating a ‘killing rage’ and the Pope condemns Israel ‘using terrorism tactics’ in Gaza
Writing on Monday 18th December, in the Daily telegraph Newspaper, the former UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, openly cautioned the Israeli Prime Minister against continuing what he called a ‘crude and indiscriminate method of attack’ in Gaza. He argued that ‘obliterating vast swathes of Gaza’ and the ‘collective punishment and forced movement of civilians’ was not a legitimate response to the Hamas attack on Southern Israel on October 7th.
Israel is losing its moral and legal authority says former UK Defence Secretary
Ben Wallace made the point that Israel was ‘making the mistake of losing its moral authority alongside its legal one’ if it continued with its 'killing rage' in Gaza. He cautioned Israel's Prime Minister, Bejamin Netanyahu, that the actions of his government could:
'fuel the conflict for another 50 years' and 'radicalise Muslim youth across the globe'.
The former Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace called on his background as a former British Army Veteran, who has completed two tours of Northern Ireland during the Troubles. In his article he referred to lessons learned during his time in Northern Ireland and said that actions that the British government made, including internment, ‘taught us that a disproportionate response by the state can serve as a terrorist organisation's best recruiting sergeant’.
His comments came the day following comments made by Pope Francis on Sunday, who accused the Israeli government of using ‘terrorism tactics’ in Gaza. The statement was a response to news that IDF snipers had killed two Christian women, as they sought refuge within a church complex during their passage towards a ‘convent of nuns’ in a Catholic Parish in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Two Catholic parishioners shot by Israeli snipers within the convent complex in Gaza
The Pope expressed his outrage at the policy of the IDF in shooting and bombing ‘unarmed civilians’. Speaking of the killing of the two Christian parishioners and the wider killings of innocent civilians across the strip, He said:
‘I continue receiving very serious and sad news about Gaza… This has happened even within the parish complex of the Holy Family, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities… Some are saying ‘this is terrorism and war’. Yes, it is war, it is terrorism… let us pray to the Lord for peace’
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa – the Catholic Authority in the Holy Land, issued a statement on Saturday, which read:
‘Nahida and her daughter Samar were shot and killed as they walked to the Sister’s Convent. One was killed as she tried to carry the other to safety… Seven more people were wounded by gunfire as they tried to protect others [they] were shot in cold blood’
He added that IDF tanks had fired on the Convent of the Mother Theresa, which he said had completely destroyed the building’s generator, fuel supplies and had ensured that a building housing more than 50 people was no longer habitable. He said:
‘The 54 disabled persons are currently displaced and without access to the respirators that some of them need to survive… We cannot but express that we are at a loss to comprehend how such an attack could be carried out, even more so as the whole church prepares for Christmas’
The new language: ‘sustainable ceasefire’ instead of ‘humanitarian pause’
The UK Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, added his voice on Sunday to a growing shift in the former ‘unconditional support’ statements made until now. Writing in the Sunday Times, he echoed the new language uttered by the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, as he called for a ‘sustainable ceasefire’. He pointed out that ‘too many civilians have been killed’ and warned Israel, that it would fail to win its war on Hamas if:
‘It’s operations destroy the prospect of peaceful co-existence with Palestinians… Our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, and generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable… We know many in the region and beyond have been calling for an immediate ceasefire. We recognise what motivates these heartfelt calls. It is an understandable reaction to such intense suffering, and we share the view that this conflict cannot drag on and on. That is why we supported the recent humanitarian pauses’
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