UK Foreign Minister David Cameron and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock have emphasized the pressing requirement for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza. In a joint article for Britain’s Sunday Times, the ministers expressed concern over the loss of civilian lives in the conflict and increased pressure on Israel to swiftly conclude its operation against Hamas in a manner that ensures long-term stability.
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to facilitate the establishment of a sustainable ceasefire that will pave the way for lasting peace. Time is of the essence, and the urgency for action is paramount,” they stated in the joint Sunday Times article.
However, the duo also expressed their stance that advocating for a general and immediate ceasefire at this moment, with the hope it becomes permanent, is not the way forward.
Highlighting their perspective, they stated, “It ignores why Israel is forced to defend itself: Hamas barbarically attacked Israel and continues to launch rockets targeting Israeli citizens daily. Hamas must lay down its arms.”
Despite the overwhelming demand for a ceasefire in Gaza by the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday night, the UK chose to abstain from the vote.
Israel is facing increasing pressure from its allies, with the United States, a key supporter, criticizing its response to the October 7 attacks as “indiscriminate” bombing.
When asked about the change in the UK government’s stance, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden urged Israel to exercise restraint during an appearance on the BBC’s “Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg” show.
“Israel is dealing with a very difficult situation,” he commented. “If you’re going after an enemy that literally hides underneath hospitals, hides among 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.”
The war was triggered by an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas operatives on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, and around 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.
With the aim of destroying Hamas and bringing the hostages home, Israel initiated a robust offensive on Gaza, which is under the control of the group.
As per the Hamas-run health ministry, the war has claimed the lives of more than 18,800 people, predominantly women and children.