By March 01 2024, 17:07 Latest News No Comments

“We don’t achieve anything by calling for a permanent ceasefire, without those hostages being returned and Hamas being removed from Gaza. A permanent ceasefire without those things isn’t a ceasefire at all, it’s a victory for Hamas. And this Government won’t stand for it”, said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Community Security Trust (CST) Annual Dinner.

“That Hamas attack of October 7th was the most abhorrent act of terrorism against Israel that any of us have ever known. And it’s been followed by record levels of antisemitism in this country that are utterly, utterly sickening”, he added.

“There is no context in which it’s acceptable to beam antisemitic tropes onto Big Ben, and there is no cause you can use to justify the support of proscribed terrorist groups, like Hamas”, he said, addressing recent protests in London.

Recalling his meetings with the families of hostages Emily Damari, Nadav Popplewell, Eli Sharabi and Oded Lifschitz he said that “their harrowing ordeal is beyond heartbreaking. We have to bring them home”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged an additional £54 million to protect Jewish buildings at the charity’s event.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch meets with Israeli counterpart to discuss UK-Israel trade

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch met with her Israeli counterpart Nir Barkat for the first time since 7 October to discuss the UK-Israel trade relationship. She wrote on X that “we cannot forget that over 100 Israeli hostages still remain captive in Gaza at the hands of Hamas terrorists. The world must unite to call for their immediate release”.

Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell: “Simply calling for a ceasefire will not make one happen”

“Simply calling for a ceasefire will not make one happen. There is a different and better way to stop the fighting permanently: to push for a pause and, in it, secure a sustainable ceasefire that can hold for the longer term without a return to the fighting”, said Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell on Tuesday.

CFI Parliamentary Chair (Commons) Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP asked if Palestinian reforms will “include an end to endemic corruption, to incitement to violence through the school curriculum, and to the terrible policy of paying convicted terrorists a reward for having carried out murder”. 

CFI Parliamentary Officer Bob Blackman CBE MP urged colleagues to remember that “the last time a pause was negotiated, Hamas broke it, rearmed and started firing again, and stole the international aid”. He urged steps to “ensure that the precondition for a humanitarian pause is the release of hostages; that international aid actually gets to the people who need it, and is not diverted by Hamas; and that Hamas respect such a pause”. 

Sir Alec Sherbrooke MP pointed out that “rapists, murderers and repressors” comprise the terror group Hamas. “The Gaza area has had hundreds of millions of dollars and other currency invested in it”, he continued, which has been misappropriated by Hamas.

Greg Smith MP echoed this adding that, “Hamas are misappropriating up to 60% of humanitarian aid entering Gaza, which is part of their long-term pattern of prioritising their fighters, abusing aid to produce rockets and using construction materials to build hundreds of miles of terror tunnels for their activities”.

Sir Oliver Heald MP said “the taking of hostages, and particularly civilian hostages, is considered an abomination. It is a war crime” and is “driving the Israelis” in their mission.

Adam Holloway MP questioned Hamas’ intentions in keeping the hostages in captivity and Mark Pritchard MP highlighted the longstanding unpopularity of Fatah among Palestinians.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat warns of threats made against MPs: “We are seeing a darkness return to our streets”

In a Ministerial Statement on MP safety, on Thursday in the House of Commons, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat stated that “since the 7 October attacks on Israel, [threats made against MPs] have spiked, along with a dramatic rise in antisemitism, accompanied by demonstrations that have caused profound distress and fear in the Jewish community and beyond. We are seeing a darkness return to our streets”.

He added that, “many of us have raised personal concerns about the horrific treatment of over 100 hostages who are still held, even now, in tunnels by a terrorist group who murdered their families in a surprise attack 120 or 150 days ago. Many of us have showed our horror at that. Others, sadly, have chosen to march with some who have shown signs of hate and racism. Others have chosen to stay silent when they have seen those signs”. He called the signs some “of the deepest, most hateful antisemitism that we have seen on our streets since the Cable Street marches of almost a century ago”.

BBC deemed “institutionally antisemitic” in Westminster Hall debate

Former Attorney General Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Ellis KC MP described the BBC as “institutionally antisemitic” amid “the organisation’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war which has led it to comprehensively fail the British public”. 

“A careful review of BBC output shows a clear failure to uphold its obligation to impartiality”, he added, raising multiple examples including the BBC’s coverage of the Al Ahli Hospital blast, for which it blamed Israel but was later found to be caused by a stray Palestinian Islamic Jihad missile. 

The coverage “led to the cancellation of a Head of State-level regional peace summit” and “the burning of synagogues in Tunisia and Germany”. 

He also evidenced multiple instances of antisemitism from the staff at the cooperation, bias reporting especially presented by BBC Arabic – which portrayed militia members as impartial “experts” – and the dismissiveness with which the BBC addressed complaints of antisemitism. 

CFI Parliamentary Vice Chair Theresa Villiers MP reemphasised the “most worrying examples of biased content on the BBC” in their coverage of al-Ahli Hospital, which “genuinely created problems on the ground and made it harder to resolve things. It had a real-life impact. That is an example of how the BBC needs to be much more careful in its coverage of Israel”.

CFI Parliamentary Vice Chair Andrew Percy MP said that reporting on this conflict should start from the point that “we have a Jew-hating, gay-hating, misogynistic, terrorist death and rape cult, and on the other we have a democratic, liberal state with strong independent processes, which was attacked on 7 October. The fact that 77% of British Jews—remember that just 0.5% of the population of this country is Jewish—do not consider its coverage to be fair should be taken by the BBC as a cry of pain from the Jewish community, and it should take that very, very seriously”.

He described the BBC as “Israelophobic” and said “the way in which the BBC is presenting this conflict on television is also fuelling hate towards Members of Parliament”. He urged the Minister to “ask the BBC for a full review of how its coverage of this conflict contrasts with others’” and “to ask whether the BBC plans to offer proper antisemitism training, provided by actual members of the community with expertise on the subject”.

Sir Alec Shelbrooke MP said that “my Jewish constituents are bloody terrified now. It was bad enough leading up to the 2019 general election, when many of them felt that they would leave this country, but they had fairly good faith that the Labour party would not win that election. Now, they are truly terrified. I have heard my Hon. Friend [Andrew Percy MP] say that he feels safer in Israel than on the streets of his own country. That is true for a great number of my constituents who, to make matters worse, are seeing an in-built bias in the BBC almost justifying those launching antisemitic attacks against my constituents”.

Steve Double MP also linked BBC coverage and rising levels of antisemitism: “We have seen a rise in the number of antisemitic incidents taking place in recent months in this country and the shameful treatment of a number of members of our Jewish community across the country. It is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that, sadly, the BBC has contributed to that because it has presented Israel in such a poor light over recent months”.

“It feels like the BBC will report Hamas reports, statistics and numbers without any qualification, without any sense of caution that that information is coming from Hamas”, he added.

Former Attorney General Sir Michael Ellis criticises the Red Cross (ICRC) in its failure toward hostages

Former Attorney General Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Ellis MP said that the “failure” of the Red Cross to “access the hostages…who have been cruelly held by Hamas in unimaginable conditions” will “never to be forgiven”.

He cited a mathematical breakdown of the ICRC’s statements on social media which “showed that 77% of them solely condemn Israel, while only 7% solely condemn Hamas—an 11 times difference”. He also highlighted how  ICRC staff responded to hostage family’s “pleas to deliver medication to the hostages with reprimands of the hostage families, telling them to think about the Palestinians”.

Lord Leigh of Hurley: Unilaterally imposing two-state solution risks crisis like in Sudan

Lord Leigh of Hurley urged for the Government to consider whether a future Palestinian state, “will be a democracy, whether there will be a military, and whether there will be access to ensure that there are no tunnels”, after warning against unilaterally imposing a two-state solution, as in Sudan “where there is now the most vicious civil war”.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch with Israeli counterpart Nir Barkat

Hamas to be excluded from Palestinian Authority’s new Government

Hamas understands why it should not be part of a new Government in the Palestinian Territories, according to the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Wednesday.

“The time now is not for a government where Hamas will be part of it”, said Maliki. He warned that if Hamas joined a Palestinian government, “it will be boycotted”, adding that “we want to be accepted and engaging fully with the international community”. 

Maliki stated that a “technocratic” government should be formed to “move the whole country into a period of transition into a stable kind of situation”.

Then-Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Shtayyeh said Hamas could be brought back into the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the Palestinians’ official representative body, earlier this month. He hinged the inclusion on Hamas’ agreement to “prerequisites” linked to “popular resistance and nothing else”. 

Israel has warned that the Palestinian Authority will not be able to govern Gaza if Hamas joins its leadership. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have voiced their intention to join the PLO with the condition that it rejects the existence of the State of Israel. 

British Foreign Minister Andrew Mitchell said that, “the Palestinian people need a technocratic and effective Administration that can win the confidence of the people of Gaza. We stand ready to support the Palestinian Authority to achieve that aim”, on Tuesday. 

Hostage negotiations met with Hamas’ “brick wall”

“We face a brick wall of delusional, unrealistic Hamas demands”, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening, adding that Israel is prepared to continue its offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah. 

The terror group “knows its demands are delusional and is not even trying to move close to an area of agreement. That’s the situation”, he stated in an address to Israeli media. 

Both Israel and Hamas have delegates in Qatar, in reported attempts to secure a six-week pause in fighting and the release of around 40 hostages in exchange for 400 Palestinian security prisoners held by Israel.

Although “hopeful” of a hostage agreement, Netanyahu pledged that Israel will rescue the hostages “with or without a framework”, and will destroy the remaining Hamas battalions stationed in Rafah “by evacuating civilians from combat zones”, “taking care of their humanitarian needs”, and “following international law”. 

Two Israelis killed in terror attack

Two Israelis were killed in a terror shooting attack carried out by a Palestinian gunmen at a petrol station, near the West Bank settlement of Eli on Thursday evening.

Rabbi Yitzhak Zeiger, a 57-year old paramedic volunteer from Shavei Shomron, was shot and killed while filling the car with petrol. Uria Hartum, a 16-year-old secondary school student from Dolev, was shot and killed in the car. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the assailant, later identified as a Palestinian Authority policeman, was shot dead at the scene by the owner of a nearby hummus restaurant, Aviad Gazbar, who heard the shots.

“I saw that he saw me, and he started charging towards me, I took him down and continued scanning”, added Gazbar. 

The Shin Bet identified the terrorist as Muhammad Manasra, 31, from the West Bank’s Qalandiya Refugee Camp near Jerusalem. Manasra was jailed between 2018 and 2019 for weapons offences.

Large aid transfer to Gaza met with stampede

260 aid trucks were inspected and transferred into Gaza by Israel yesterday, one of the largest numbers of aid transferred in the last few weeks.

30 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip in the early hours of the morning, and were met by thousands of Gazans who tried to storm the trucks to reach the aid.

As crowds made their way to the convoy, many were crushed, and trampled in a stampede. Hamas have said that 104 were killed, blaming Israel for the deaths.

Palestinian gunmen were reported in the crowds, with further gunmen awaiting those trucks able to escape the crowds one-two miles away.

The IDF said it did not fire at the stampede but did shoot at a group who rushed at soldiers and a tank at an IDF checkpoint.  An initial inquiry conducted by the IDF concluded IDF fire killed 7-8 people and that the majority were killed in the stampede.

“No IDF strike was conducted toward the aid convoy”, said Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. “On the contrary, the IDF was there carrying out a humanitarian aid operation, to secure the humanitarian corridor, and allow the aid convoy to reach its distribution point, so that the humanitarian aid could reach Gazan civilians in the north who are in need”.

The IDF released a drone video evidencing thousands of people surrounding the aid convoy, and  in some cases, the vehicles trying  to push past the crowds.

Arab nations tried to garner consensus on Israel’s culpability for the incident through a UN Security Council statement last night.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood said that, “we don’t have all the facts here,” adding that the statement should reflect “the necessary due diligence with regards to culpability”. 

Hamas leader’s bunker discovered in Gaza

The IDF discovered a subterranean, fortified base which likely served Hamas’ leader on the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar, according to reports on Wednesday. 

The base which was discovered, called “Room 6”, is located in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, and is deeper and better furnished than other Hamas tunnels, featuring living rooms, security guards, communication lines, and multiple openings.

New tunnel shafts, bunkers, weapons factories and storage facilities are being discovered by the IDF almost daily, according to their reports. 

“We are cutting down [Hamas’ infrastructure] slice by slice, location by location, which handicaps Hamas’ ability to operate freely”, said IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. (res.) Peter Lerner.

Sinwar told Hamas officials in Qatar this week that he was confident about Hamas’ position in the Gaza Strip, and that high civilian casualties amid the IDF’s potentially forthcoming operation in Rafah would mount international pressure against Israel.

IRGC officials based in Syria killed in strike

Multiple Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials were killed in a strike in the Syrian coastal city of Baniyas this morning, according to Syrian reports.

The claims alleged that Israel conducted the operation, although Israel has not commented.

Houthi drones shot down in “most dangerous deployment” of German navy in “many years”

Two Houthi drones were shot down over the Red Sea by the German navy frigate Hessen on Tuesday.

A German Government official stated that the mission was “probably the most dangerous deployment of the German navy for many, many years”.

Together with France, Greece, Italy and others, Germany is participating in an EU-led mission to oversee three warships in the Red Sea.

U.S. Central Command added that an aircraft also shot down three other Houthi drones in the region on Tuesday.

The U.S. carried out strikes against six anti-ship missiles and an aerial drone that posed a threat to ships in the Red Sea, according to reports today.

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