SPECIAL BRIEFING DAY 185: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “Israel’s wounds are still unhealed”

By April 08 2024, 19:27 Latest News No Comments

Note to reader: We wanted to give you a trigger warning on what you may read below. We have chosen, as with every one of these briefings, to not share horrific images, however we want to alert you as sensitively as we can to the reports coming out of Israel and Gaza.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “Israeli wounds are still unhealed”

“Today marks six months since the terrorist outrage of 7th October – the most appalling attack in Israel’s history, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Second World War”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement released on Saturday.

“Six months later, Israeli wounds are unhealed. Families mourn and hostages are still held by Hamas”.

“We continue to stand by Israel’s right to defeat the threat from Hamas terrorists and defend their security”, the Prime Minister stated. “This terrible conflict must end. The hostages must be released. The aid… must be flooded in”.

The UK Government will continue to work towards an end to this conflict, with hostages getting out, and aid getting in, “for the good of both Israelis and Palestinians – who all deserve to live in peace, dignity and security”, the Prime Minister asserted.

“Hamas is the barrier to ending this brutal conflict”, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron wrote in The Sunday Times

“Israel cannot be expected to live next to an organisation that carried out such brutal attacks and has declared that, if possible, it would do the same all over again”, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron wrote in The Sunday Times.

“Unless you deal with the cause of the conflict — the rule of Hamas over Gaza and the presence of those responsible for October 7 — no ceasefire would last”. He continued, “Israel has a right to self-defence that we should support”.

He said “Hamas must release [the hostages]. Every one of them, right now”, on the six-month milestone since Hamas 7 October Massacre. He highlighted the “two British nationals” kept in Hamas captivity, together with “parents, children [and] loved ones”.

“We must not forget how this conflict started — with the Jewish people suffering the worst and most murderous pogrom since the Holocaust”.

“Israel has been prepared to make a deal with Hamas for a pause in fighting”, whereby hostages would be released by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners charged with “serious acts of terrorism”.

“None of us sitting comfortably in peaceful Western democracies should underestimate what a difficult thing this is for people in Israel to contemplate”, he continued, adding, “that innocent people have been captured and held is a perpetual reminder of the monstrous organisation we are dealing with”.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office tweeted about the families of those killed or taken hostage by Hamas 6 months ago.

Defence Secretary: Hamas “must be defeated”

“Hamas are a terrorist group which must be defeated and they must immediately release every single hostage”, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps shared on an Instagram post on Sunday.

“6 months ago today Hamas launched its heinous terrorist attack on families across Israel – taking the lives of more Jews than on any day since the Holocaust”.

“The suffering unleashed since that day for the people of Israel and the people of Gaza is unimaginable”, he added.

In a press release, the Defence Secretary said that, “the Armed Forces are playing a central role in delivering aid, with the Royal Air Force recently completing five airdrops of food supplies for the people of Gaza”.

Deputy Prime Minister: Israel is “a nation in trauma… prosecuting a legitimate war of self-defence”

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said on BBC Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that, “six months ago Israel was subject to the most appalling attack… Israel is still facing this existential threat from Hamas, it’s a nation in trauma and it is prosecuting a legitimate war of self-defence”.

The world is quick to attack Israel, “holding Israel to standards that we wouldn’t remotely hold other countries to”, the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted.

“Israel is conducting a legitimate campaign and it is doing so in a very, very difficult environment where it is facing Hamas, a terrorist organisation that hides amongst its civilian population”, he continued.

“It’s all too easy for the world to forget the horrors that Israel faced”, the Deputy Prime Minister stated, adding that “the people of Gaza have suffered under Hamas, they’re now suffering as a result of that and you’ve seen today the announcements that we’ve made in terms of opening that aid corridor”, he added.

Conservatives support letter by 1,000+ UK lawyers rejecting arms embargo calls

“There is no justification for suspending the sale of weapons to Israel without evidence of systematic violation by Israel of international law”, a letter addressed to the Prime Minister and signed by top UK lawyers – including KCs, Solicitors, and legal academics – has outlined.

“There is no justification for imposing sanctions on [Israel] without any findings or evidence of serious misconduct by them”, the letter stated.

CFI Parliamentary Chair (Lords) Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles told GB News, “I am very pleased that reason is being heard, and this redresses a misunderstanding on the ICJ findings”.

CFI Parliamentary Vice Chair Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP said, “this sets out powerful legal arguments to rebut the allegations in the earlier letter from lawyers”.

“We should continue to support the only democracy in the Middle East as it defends itself from a brutal terrorist attack”. Villiers continued, “if we were to stop arms exports, other countries might do the same harming Israel’s capacity to win the war against Hamas”.

The letter presents the “clear case for maintaining arms exports to Israel. I hope it is taken very seriously by Ministers”, Villiers told GB News.

CFI Parliamentary Vice Chair Andrew Percy MP told GB News, “it would be an act of grotesque stupidity and self-harm to cut off the little and limited arms exports we have to Israel, whilst the Iranian regime in Tehran continue to arm the Hamas murder and rape terrorist cult”.

Percy added, “we should not abandon the Middle East’s only democracy in its fight against Islamist terrorism, which not only hates Israel but hates and wishes to destroy everything it stands for”.

Former Attorney General: “How could we justify continued sales to Qatar, which actually harbours Hamas’ leaders, while refusing to supply arms to Israel as it fights terrorists?”

Former Attorney General Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Ellis KC MP stated an arms embargo against Israel would be the “wrong step – strategically, economically, and morally”, in The Sunday Telegraph.

An arms embargo would have “far-reaching unintended consequences”, destroying our “stated goal of securing Israeli-Palestinian peace and countering Iranian belligerence”, while risking “international confidence” in the UK as an export partner.

“The world’s only Jewish state is undeniably held to stratospherically high standards, which are routinely exploited by its terrorist enemies”, wrote Sir Michael, criticising the “virtue-signalling din” of those calling for an arms embargo.

“The UK benefits tremendously from Israel’s military technology”, he said.

Separately, former Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote in an article for the Daily Mail on Saturday: “If you want an example of the death wish of Western civilisation, I give you the current proposal from members of the British establishment that this country should ban arms sales to Israel”.

SHARE: CFI post marking 6 months since 7 October on X

Israel withdraws many ground troops from Gaza as preparations continue for next phase of war

The IDF withdrew its manoeuvring ground forces from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, leaving only a few thousand troops of the five divisions (30-40,000) that were previously active in the enclave. The move – which follows the IDF’s successful operation in Khan Younis – indicates the war against Hamas is moving into its next phase ahead of a planned offensive against Hamas’ remaining four battalions in Rafah.

The withdrawal follows Israel’s operation in Khan Younis, where the local Hamas brigade was dismantled, thousands of gunmen killed and around 30 kilometres of Hamas tunnels destroyed.

Five rockets were fired from Khan Younis, central Gaza, to Israeli communities hours after Israel’s withdrawal. Three Hamas launch posts, including one situated beside a designated humanitarian area, were struck by the IDF over the weekend. Hamas has now fired more than 9,000 rockets and other projectiles at Israel since 7 October.

“Hamas’s interest is to present a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, to press for an end to the war,” the IDF’s Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi said on Sunday, adding that the terror group is achieving this outcome by “trying to take control of the humanitarian aid and prevent its distribution.

Israel facilitated the delivery of 322 aid trucks on Sunday – a record number since the war began. 70% of the aid trucks carried food, according to COGAT. Israel’s Erez Crossing and Ashdod port was opened to humanitarian aid transfers two days prior. Erez has been badly damaged during Hamas’ 7 October attack, killing and kidnapping many from the crossing.

The remaining brigade will be responsible for securing the Netzarim Corridor, which runs from the coastline to Israel’s Be’eri area and which is key for deploying aid directly to the north and south of the Strip without relying on organisations affiliated with terror groups. It will also enable the IDF to carry out targetted raids in northern and central Gaza.

The IDF believes that raids based on new intelligence, such as the recent operation at Shifa Hospital, are a more effective way to operate against Hamas.

Israeli officials have said that 18 of Hamas’ 24 battalions have been dismantled. Israel’s Defence Minister has said that this means Hamas is no longer operating as an organised military unit in much of Gaza, although smaller cells persist.

Four of the battalions have retained near-full capacity in Rafah, southern Gaza, and two additional battalions are active in the central area.

Iran threatens “maximum damage” against Israel

Iran has reportedly threatened to exact “maximum damage” as retaliation for the deaths of seven Revolutionary Guards in a strike on Damascus on 6 April, according to Iran’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri during a memorial ceremony held at Isfahan, Iran, for an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General killed in the strike, Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

Zahedi, 63, is alleged to have operated for the IRGC’s Quds Force, its foreign operations branch – overseeing the Palestinian Territories, Syria and Lebanon. He was believed to have been the most senior commander for Iran in the area.

Yahya Rahim Safavi, senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Iranian media that Israel’s embassies “are no longer safe”. The country’s forces have been reportedly put “on full alert”.

Iran’s response “will be carried out at the right time, with the necessary precision and planning” so that Iran’s “enemy… regret their action”, said Bagheri. Tehran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said Israel “will be punished” for the killings.

“Iran has tried to disavow and hide from direct involvement in [7 October attacks], but we know that it activates, directs, finances and transfers knowledge to all its proxies in the region, from Hezbollah through Judea and Samaria [West Bank] to Yemen”, said IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi on Sunday, “Iran does not only threaten Israel, but the entire Western and Arab world. Iran is a global problem, it was and remains the big problem”.

Hamas weapons cache discovered in Bulgaria

A hidden weapons cache linked to Hamas was discovered by Bulgarian police on Thursday night.

The weapons cache has been connected to four Hamas terrorists arrested in Germany and the Netherlands before Christmas.

Another cache is thought to be located somewhere in Poland. A Citroen Picasso, loaded with a wooden stick, suitcase, backpack, binoculars and rubber boots, was stopped by authorities while making its way from the country into Germany in October after a tip from Israeli intelligence agencies, according to Der Spiegel.

The car’s occupants, Mohammed B. and Abdulhamid al-A., were thought to have been tasked with locating the weapons cache and retrieving the automatic weapons so that Hamas terrorists could use them against Jewish institutions and individuals in Germany.

Abdulhamid al-A had reportedly travelled to Berlin eight times in the past fourteen months, from Beirut, Italy and Denmark – using refugee passports to re-enter Europe and remained in Germany after his application for refugee status was rejected.

He was in constant contact with deputy-commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’ military wing) Khalil Harraz, based in Lebanon.

Iran-backed groups threatens to deploy militia in Jordan and destabilise state

Jordan’s leadership has condemned Iran and its axis of terror across the Middle East over the weekend, amid threats of Iran implanting its militia within the Kingdom.

Abu Ali Al-Askari, an Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades official, revealed operative plans to establish a Jordanian militia with 12,000 armed members that would be subordinate to the Iran-led resistance axis on April 2.

Jordanian government spokesman Al-Mubaidin said that “Jordan is not interested in responding to militias whose hands are stained with blood and which are one of the reasons for the instability in the region”.

Former Jordanian Information Minister Samih Al-Ma’aita has accused Hamas’ leadership of inciting Jordan’s public against the state and has called on authorities to “seriously consider revoking the citizenship” of those responsible. He added that Iran has been trying to infiltrate Jordan for 40 years.

Hamas has encouraged mass protests and even urged demonstrators to breach Israel’s border since 7 October, urging listeners in Jordan and elsewhere not to “let the borders, the regimes and the restrictions deprive you of the honour of waging jihad”.

Ma’aita has said that “as a result” of recent inflammatory statements made by the Hamas leadership, protests in Jordan have begun to threaten the “Jordanian political regime, the state leadership and the army”.

Secretary-General of Jordan’s National Charter Party and former Government spokesman told state media that “processions that involve slogans that violate the law and the constitution, and processions that involve clashes with the security forces and [damaging] public property, are unacceptable, and the truth is the Jordanians view them with considerable anger and suspicion”.

Omar Raddad, a retired Jordanian intelligence officer, told Arab media that escalatory protests are “carefully planned and is the result of a plot that was concocted in Tehran in order to turn Amman into the fifth Arab capital controlled by Iran after Baghdad, Damascus, Sanaa and Beirut”.

Hamas launch site beside humanitarian area, aid distribution centre and shelters in Khan Younis in Gaza. (IDF)

Senior Field Commander in Iran-backed Hezbollah eliminated by the IDF

A senior field commander of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force, Ali Ahmed Hassin, was eliminated by the IDF on Monday morning, the IDF and Iran-backed terror group confirmed.

Hassin “was responsible for the planning and execution of terror attacks in the Ramim Ridge area against the Israeli home front”, the IDF said.

Hassin and another two Hezbollah operatives under his command were killed in the strike in southern Lebanon town of as-Sultaniyah.

The Radwan force is believed to be tasked with potentially infiltrating Israel, IDF officials have said.

Additionally, on Monday afternoon, an explosive-laden drone launched by Hezbollah struck an area near Rosh Hanikra. Hezbollah took responsibility for the attack, claiming to have targeted an Israeli naval base in the area.

The IDF said the strike caused a small fire in an open area with no reports of injuries.

On Sunday morning, a barrage of rockets was fired from Lebanon at the Golan Heights and Manara area, and in the evening, a rocket fired at the northern city of Safed was successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, the IDF said. There were other attacks on army bases and communities in northern Israel throughout the day.

West Bank escalation continues: two Israelis wounded in a shooting attack

A female soldier, 19, was seriously injured and a man in his 50s hurt in a terror shooting attack on a West Bank highway on Sunday morning, the military and medics said.

A Palestinian gunman opened fire at a bus and another car on Route 55, between the Palestinian towns of Azzun and Nabi Ilyas.

IDF troops were dispatched to the scene of the shooting to search for the terrorist, who escaped.

Separately, a 17-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank has been arrested, suspected of intending to carry out a stabbing attack on Saturday, the police said. He was found with a large knife taped to his body and after interrogation it was concluded that the suspect intended to execute a terror plot.

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