UK and Germany push for 'sustainable ceasefire' in Gaza

Foreign ministers David Cameron and Annalena Baerbock call for co-operation in finding two-state solution

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Germany and the UK have called for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza that can be a step towards a two-state future developed with Arab help.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock, writing in the Sunday Times, warned that “too many civilians have been killed”.

They said neither nation was calling for an immediate ceasefire, but instead, they wanted a “sustainable” ceasing of the conflict.

“Our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable,” they wrote.

“We know many in the region and beyond have been calling for an immediate ceasefire. We recognise what motivates these heartfelt calls.

“It is an understandable reaction to such intense suffering, and we share the view that this conflict cannot drag on and on. That is why we supported the recent humanitarian pauses.”

Mr Cameron and Ms Baerbock defended Israel’s attacks in Gaza, urged the international community to get more aid to Palestinians and called for co-operation in finding a route to the two-state solution.

‘All those who want to end the suffering need to work together on a solution that delivers long-term security for both peoples,” they wrote.

“Our Arab partners, in particular, have a crucial role to play in this. They have shown strong humanitarian commitment and they have even more political weight to bring to the table.

“The rise of extremism is a threat to all of us, not just to Israelis and Palestinians. A two-state solution requires both sides to feel safe living side by side.”

Israel’s offensive, following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, has flattened much of northern Gaza and driven 85 per cent of Gaza's 2.3 million population from their homes.

Displaced people have sought shelter, mainly in the south of Gaza.

“We do not believe that calling right now for a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent, is the way forward,” Mr Cameron and Ms Baerbock wrote.

“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.”

Amnesty International UK welcomed the “important change of language” from Mr Cameron.

Israeli military says troops mistakenly shot dead three hostages in Gaza

Israeli military says troops mistakenly shot dead three hostages in Gaza

Israel’s government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has also faced domestic protests this weekend after Israeli troops on Friday mistakenly killed three hostages.

The Israeli military confirmed on Saturday that the men had been waving a white flag and were shirtless when they were killed.

Israel’s chief of the general staff, Lt Gen Herzi Halevi, has taken responsibility for the accidental killing of three hostages in Gaza.

Updated: December 17, 2023, 4:20 AM