Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni today. Commenting after the calls, the Foreign Secretary said:
I spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni this morning to discuss how to resolve the crisis in Gaza. I reiterated the UK’s position on the need for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, for every effort to be made to prevent further civilian casualties. Hamas must also cease the firing of rockets at Israeli communities and endangering the lives of the Israeli population.
I welcome indications that Israeli forces may begin to withdraw from Gaza within the next few days. It’s vital that we find a way forward that is enduring and any solution would need to provide genuine stability, and not simply lead to a repeat of the cycle of violence.
In order to be sustainable, any ceasefire agreement needs to show a clear path to real change in Gaza for the future if we are to avoid future conflict and improve life for ordinary Gazans as well as address Israel’s legitimate security needs.
The Foreign Secretary also commented on reports that a number of civilians were killed at a UN school in Rafah this morning:
I am appalled at reports of further civilian casualties in the vicinity of a UN-run school housing Palestinians displaced by the Gaza conflict in Rafah this morning. The facts are not yet clear, but it is tragic that there are further losses of life in a place which is being used as a shelter.
Media Office l Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice
Follow the Foreign Office on facebook and Google+