UK and Germany call for ‘sustainable ceasefire’ in Gaza

UK and Germany call for ‘sustainable ceasefire’ in Gaza

LONDON (AFP): UK foreign minister David Cameron and German counterpart Annalena Baerbock stressed that the “need is urgent” for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza in a joint article for Britain’s Sunday Times.

The two ministers wrote in a joint Sunday Times article that “too many civilians have been killed” in the conflict, and raised the pressure on Israel to bring its operation against Hamas to a swift, but “sustainable,” end.

“We must do all we can to pave the way to a sustainable ceasefire, leading to a sustainable peace. The sooner it comes, the better — the need is urgent,” they wrote.

However, the pair also said that they “do not believe that calling right now for a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent, is the way forward.

“It ignores why Israel is forced to defend itself: Hamas barbarically attacked Israel and still fires rockets to kill Israeli citizens every day. Hamas must lay down its arms,” they added.

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday night overwhelmingly demanded a ceasefire in Gaza, but the UK abstained.

Israel is coming increasing pressure from its allies over its war in Gaza, with key backer the United States criticizing its bombing in response to the October 7 attacks as “indiscriminate.”

Responding to questions about the UK government’s change of tone, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden on Sunday urged Israel to show restraint.

“Israel is dealing with a very difficult situation,” he told the BBC’s “Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg” show.

“If you’re going after an enemy that literally hides underneath hospitals, hides amongst the civilian population, you are going to sustain high levels of civilian casualties.

“What we as a UK government are saying is Israel, you do need to exercise restraint,” he added.

The war began after Hamas militants launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 that killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw around 240 hostages taken, according to Israeli authorities.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and to bring the hostages home, Israel launched a withering offensive on Gaza, which is ruled by the militant group.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, the war has killed more than 18,800 people, mostly women and children.