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Foreign Secretary reacts to breakdown of Gaza ceasefire

Philip Hammond says number one priority is ending the suffering of the people of Gaza and calls again for urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

The Foreign Secretary answered questions in a television interview this afternoon.

Question: Foreign Secretary, the ceasefire lasted barely a matter of hours. Is diplomacy now dead in Israel?

Foreign Secretary: No, diplomacy is never dead. We have always got to keep trying, but it is obviously extremely depressing that this ceasefire that we have all worked so hard to get broke down so quickly, and if the reports that Hamas broke the ceasefire are correct then that is very serious indeed. As is the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier which will make it all the more difficult to re-establish a ceasefire to allow a humanitarian force in Gaza.

Question: On Hadar Goldin you said that he had been kidnapped not caught. Do you believe that he is British.? There are reports that he is a British-Israeli citizen. What do you know?

Foreign Secretary: We have no information to support those reports. We have heard that and we are obviously looking into it, but we have no information to suggest that he is a British citizen.

Question: And just quickly, you have faced some internal criticism from people like Margot James for what she says is your inability to criticise loudly the acts of the Israeli Government. Do you think Israel has acted disproportionately over the last few weeks?

Foreign Secretary: Well look, what I have said consistently throughout this conflict is that all parties are required to act in accordance with international law and to act proportionately. But what I have focused on, and I think that my colleagues around the world have focused on, is trying to influence behind the scenes to get to a ceasefire. We urgently need a humanitarian ceasefire. Ending the suffering of the people of Gaza is the number one priority. Afterwards we can talk about all the issues that both sides have. We can put them all on the table but we have to act to influence both sides of this conflict in order to end it for the benefit of the Palestinian people who are caught in the middle between Hamas and the Israeli Defence Forces.

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