London Calls for Ceasefire, Claims UK 'Deeply Disturbed' by War

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond urges unconditional truce in Gaza, saying UK is 'deeply disturbed' media coverage of operation.

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AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff,

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Sunday demanded an unconditional ceasefire to resolve the "intolerable" situation in Gaza, adding that the British public was "deeply disturbed" by what it was seeing, according to AFP

Hammond, who took over from William Hague last month, told the Sunday Telegraph that the killing had to stop, having already said he was "gravely concerned" by the number of civilian casualties from Israel's military operation in Gaza.

"The British public has a strong sense that the situation of the civilian population in Gaza is intolerable and must be addressed -- and we agree with them," he told the newspaper.

"It's a broad swathe of British public opinion that feels deeply disturbed by what it is seeing on its television screens," he added.

The former defense minister acknowledged the concerns of both Hamas and Israel, but insisted that they could not be allowed to stand in the way of a humanitarian ceasefire.

"We have to get the killing to stop," he told the paper. Hammond did not address the possibility of media bias, as Israeli dailies have not only noted Hamas's ongoing encouragement for civilians to become human shields, but also the distinct evidence cited by CAMERA and other watchdog groups that most of the casualties are likely Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters. 

The office of British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday accused opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband of "playing politics" after he criticized Cameron's "silence" over Israel's actions.

An Israeli army spokesman on Sunday told AFP that it had begun withdrawing some ground troops from the Gaza Strip and redeploying others, but operations against Hamas would continue.

His remarks came a day after the Israeli army gave a first indication it was ending parts of the operation, which has so far claimed the lives of sixty-four IDF soldiers, three Israeli civilians, and over 1,700 Palestinians. 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders arrived in Cairo for talks on Sunday; Israel, however, has said it will not send anyone to the talks, citing the fact that Hamas has broken five cease-fires in just 27 days of conflict.