- Business and Trade Secretary said she wanted to see crisis brought to an end
Kemi Badenoch has said Israel should be ‘applauded’ for ‘taking great pains to stay within the confines of the law’ in Gaza.
The Business and Trade Secretary became the first member of the British Government to say that Israel had followed international rules when it responded to the October 7 attack.
Her remarks were in response to new Foreign Secretary David Cameron saying that Israeli forces must abide by international humanitarian law.
Asked whether his comments represented a shift in the Government’s approach to Gaza, she told Sky: ‘As far as I’m aware, we’ve always said that Israel should abide by international law, and that appears to be what they have done.
‘So we want to make sure that there is not a case at all for there to be any scenario where Israel is under criticism for breaking international law.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch became the first minister to say that Israel had followed international law
‘As far as I’m aware that has not happened. It looks like they have taken great pains to make sure that they’re staying within the confines of the law.
‘We applaud them for that. We want to make sure that this process is brought to an end as quickly as possible with as few casualties as possible.’
She was also asked about Lord Cameron saying he had told Israel’s leaders that civilian casualties in Gaza were too high.
She said: ‘Any casualty in war is too high. What we want to see is the crisis brought to an end… with the minimal amount of casualties as possible.’
In an interview with the BBC last week, he said Israel had a right to self-defence and the Hamas attack on October 7 was ‘completely appalling’.
But he added: ‘When I met the Israeli president, prime minister and others, I stressed over and over again that they must abide by international humanitarian law, that the number of casualties are too high and they have to have that at the top of their minds.’
The United Nations’ secretary general Antonio Guterres has said the bombardment and blockade of Gaza amounted to the ‘collective punishment of the Palestinian people’ and violated international law, comments that sparked a furious row with Israel.
It comes amid reports Egypt and Qatar are close to reaching a deal to extend Israel’s truce with Gaza by two days.
Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), said today a two-day extension would include the release of 20 Israeli hostages and 60 Palestinian detainees.
The ceasefire is set to come to an end after today. Israel has said it would extend the ceasefire by one day for every ten additional hostages released.
Hamas has also said it hopes to extend the four-day truce, which came into effect on Friday after several weeks of indirect negotiations mediated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt.
Some 62 hostages have been released, one was freed by Israeli forces, and two were found dead inside Gaza.
An Israeli army helicopter transporting recently freed hostages to Ichlov hospital in Tel Aviv
Hamas hands over 11 hostages to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City on Monday
Relatives of Abigail Edan, a four-year-old girl and dual Israeli-American citizen who was released yesterday said that they had to keep pushing to get all the hostages returned home
Relatives of Abigail Edan, a four-year-old girl and dual Israeli-American citizen who was released yesterday, said in a statement: ‘We can get all hostages back home. We have to keep pushing.’
Families of the hostages have led mass marches and demonstrations accusing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not doing enough to bring them home, and the mounting pressure could push him to extend the truce and make additional concessions to Hamas.
But Israel also remains deeply shaken by the October 7 attack and determined to remove the militant group as a threat.
Mr Netanyahu, visiting troops inside Gaza yesterday, said: ‘At the end of the day we will return every one.
‘We are continuing until the end, until victory. Nothing will stop us.’