Britain worries about Gaza amid rocket attacks on Israel

Britain expresses stance consistent with UN, preferring to speak of 'everyone' without distinguishing between attacking and defending party.

Nitzan Keidar,

House hit in Ashkelon by projectiile
House hit in Ashkelon by projectiile
Israel Police

British Minister for Middle Eastern affairs Alistair Burt made an official statement Tuesday following the escalation in Gaza.

Burt condemned Hamas violence, but also expressed sympathy for the situation of Gaza residents. “I condemn Hamas rocket fire, and am deeply concerned by civilian casualties. Civilians in Israel and Gaza must be protected,” he wrote.

“Everyone must step back from the brink and avoid further escalation. UK fully supports Egypt/UN efforts to calm situation & find lasting solution to Gaza.”

Britain was thereby consistent with the UN, which called following the rocket attacks on Israel for “all parties to exercise maximum restraint.”

On the other hand, the French foreign ministry released a statement more significantly supportive of Israel. “France utterly condemns the many rocket attacks for which Hamas has claimed responsibility and which have deliberately targeted several towns in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

“[France] expresses solidarity with the people affected, and in particular the victims’ families,” the statement said, also calling “on the parties to avoid a new cycle of violence.”

Austria issued an even more significant message of support, blaming Hamas and calling for an end to its actions.