UK doesn't believe Israel has broken international law in Gaza, minister says
'There is a clear right in international law for a nation to defend itself, and that's what Israel is doing,' Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick tells Sky News.
The UK's immigration minister on Wednesday said the government does not believe Israel has violated international law in its relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip, a day after the UN secretary general said there were "clear violations."
Addressing the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Antonio Guterres said "it is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum" and the "Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation."
"They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing," he said.
Asked to comment on the remarks, Robert Jenrick told Sky News in an interview that "it is Hamas who is entirely to blame for this conflict," which began after the Palestinian group's surprise offensive on Oct. 7.
He said Israel must defend itself in accordance with international law, adding that one should not compare Israel to Hamas.
"We don't believe that Israel has broken international law, there is a clear right in international law for a nation to defend itself, and that's what Israel is doing," Jenrick said.
Questioned about the UK's stance on supporting a temporary cease-fire to facilitate humanitarian aid access into Gaza, the minister said: "We're not asking for a cease-fire. It's impossible to reach an agreement with a terrorist organization hell-bent on the destruction of your country and your people."
He also highlighted the importance of securing the release of hostages held by Hamas.
The conflict in Gaza began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military then launched a relentless air campaign against the Gaza Strip.
At least 6,546 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, while more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, according to officials.
Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been running out of food, water, medicines and fuel, and recent aid convoys allowed into Gaza have carried only a fraction of what is needed.