Ben Wallace warns Israel ‘killing rage’ risks ’50 more years’ of Hamas war | World | News

December 18, 2023
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Ben Wallace has warned Israel’s “killing rage” tactics risk fuelling the conflict for another 50 years. The senior Conservative said Tel Aviv risks undermining its legal basis for going to war in Gaza.

He said: “If [israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] thinks a killing rage will rectify the matter, then he is very wrong.”

The former defence secretary said Israel needs to end its “crude and indiscriminate method of attack” in Gaza, but he stopped short of calling for a ceasefire, The Telegraph reports.

Mr Wallace said: “His methods will not solve this problem. In fact, I believe his tactics will fuel the conflict for another 50 years. His actions are radicalising Muslim youth across the globe.”

Tel Aviv maintains its methods are required to secure victory, though there is mounting unease about the numbers of civilian casualties. The top Tory’s intervention comes after Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron called for a “sustainable ceasefire”, warning “too many civilians have been killed” in a joint article with his German counterpart in the Sunday Times.

Israel‘s main ally, the United States, has also expressed its unease at the conduct of the war, which is now entering its eleventh week. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to press Israel to wind down major combat operations in Gaza during a visit on Monday (December 18).

It will be the latest test of whether the US can leverage its unwavering support for the offensive to blunt its devastating impact on Palestinian civilians. The war began with an unprecedented surprise attack by Hamas which overwhelmed Israel‘s border defences and took the country by surprise.

Thousands of militants rampaged across southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting around 240 men, women and children.

Hamas and other militant groups are still holding an estimated 129 captives after most of the rest were freed in return for Israel‘s release of 240 Palestinian prisoners during a truce last month. Hamas has said no more hostages will be released until the war ends.

In response to the October 7 attack, Israel launched one of the 21st century’s deadliest air and ground offensives. More than 18,700 Palestinians have been killed, the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory said last Thursday in its last update before a communications blackout that only lifted late on Sunday.

It says thousands more casualties are buried under the rubble. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but has said most of those killed were women and children.

Israel’s military says 126 of its soldiers have perished in the Gaza offensive with thousands of militants killed.

Tel Aviv blames the civilian deaths on Hamas, saying it uses them as human shields when it operates in dense, residential areas. But the military rarely comments on individual strikes, which frequently kill women, children and other civilians.

Britain’s energy efficiency minister Lord Callanan echoed on Monday (December 18) Government calls to now work towards a “sustainable ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

He urged Israel to use “all restraint they possibly can” to avoid civilian casualties. Asked what a sustainable ceasefire would look like, Lord Callanan told Sky: “It means Hamas would be eliminated, they would not be in control of Gaza. Hopefully, a peaceful Palestinian government would coexist alongside Israel.”

On whether he agreed with Mr Wallace’s comments in the Telegraph, Lord Callanan said: “I don’t think I’d want to go as far as Ben has on that.

“Clearly, Israel has the right of self-defence. They’re conducting an incredibly difficult operation with terrorists and, as I said, are operating from underneath hospitals that are sheltering in civilian areas. It’s a horrible situation on the ground and I’m sure Israel are using all the restraint they possibly can.”



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