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France Calls to 'Impose' Ceasefire as Europeans Slam Israel

Paris condemns alleged IAF shelling, says lack of Hamas compliance justifies 'imposed' solution; UK implies IAF 'violated int'l law.'
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 8/4/2014, 1:17 PM

French FM Laurent Fabius
French FM Laurent Fabius
Reuters

Israel's right to security does not justify its actions in Gaza, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday, as he called for a political solution to be "imposed" by the international community.

"How many more deaths will it take to stop what must be called the carnage in Gaza?" Fabius said in a statement. "The tradition of friendship between Israel and France is an old one and Israel's right to security is total, but this right does not justify the killing of children and the slaughter of civilians."

Fabius said Islamist group Hamas, the de facto rulers of Gaza, "clearly carries an overwhelming responsibility" for the conflict but that Israel was not justified in carrying out what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called "a criminal act" with the attack near the school.

"That is why we support and demand the establishment of a real ceasefire as proposed by Egypt and why we are ready, as French and Europeans, to contribute to it in a concrete way," he said.

"It is also why a political solution is essential... and should in my opinion be imposed by the international community," Fabius said.

Fabius's statements surface just minutes after Hamas breached Israel's unilateral ceasefire Monday, firing rockets on Israel after two hours of quiet. 

European outrage at Israel increases, meanwhile, after Palestinian sources claimed Israel shelled a UN school in Gaza that was likely being used as Hamas headquarters. 

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that the United Nations was "right" to condemn the shelling of a UN school in Gaza, but declined to say whether it breached international law.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the attack on a school in Rafah on Sunday was a "moral outrage and a criminal act"; Cameron agreed. 

Cameron told the BBC: "The UN has spoken very clearly and I think they're right to speak very clearly. International law is clear that it's completely wrong and illegal to target civilians, if that's what's happened."

Asked if he believed that international law had been broken, the prime minister said: "I'm not an international lawyer, so it's up to the international lawyers.

"But international law is very, very clear that the use of force always has to be proportionate, that civilians should not be targeted."

Earlier Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said "Israel does not aim its fire at civilians and is sorry for any attack that unintentionally hits civilians," without directly addressing the attack on the school.

The IDF has previously provided video evidence that Hamas fires rockets from inside schools and it is also known that Hamas has also been using UNRWA schools as storage sites for its rockets. For the third time in recent days, such a stockpile was discovered in a UN school Tuesday.