James Cleverly In Tense Exchange With Kay Burley Over Israeli Strikes On Gaza

The foreign secretary said there was no "equivalence" between Tel Aviv's right to defend itself and Hamas terrorism.
Kay Burley and James Cleverly on Sky News this morning.
Kay Burley and James Cleverly on Sky News this morning.
Sky News

James Cleverly clashed with Kay Burley this morning after she asked him to give his support to the people of Gaza in the wake of Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the region.

Nearly 690 people in Gaza have been killed in the bombardment, according to the Palestinian Authority.

It comes after the militant group Hamas launched a wave of attacks which have left more than 900 Israelis dead.

On Monday, Israel announced a “complete seige” of Gaza in response, with the country’s defence minister Yoav Gallant describing those responsible for the attacks on his country as “human animals”.

Appearing on Sky News this morning, Cleverly said: “Israel have come under attack from Hamas, they do have a legitimate right to a proportionate response to try and secure their borders, to try to prevent further atrocities like this and we support them in that action.”

But Burley told him: “I understand that but it’s not quite answering my question. You could take this opportunity to offer public support to those people in Gaza that are under seige at the moment - no water, no electricity, no food.”

Cleverly replied: “Implicit in your question is this idea that somehow if we say something about one country we have to say something about another ...”

“They’re all human beings,” Burley told him.

The foreign secretary said: “Yes I know, absolutely. The truth is the reason we express our solidarity with the people of Israel is because terrorists took action to murder, to kidnap, and we’re now seeing reports that they are threatening to publicly execute people that they have kidnapped.

“The idea that somehow there is an equivalence between the actions of the Israeli government in their self-defence and the actions of Hamas is completely inappropriate.”

But Burley said: “I’m not saying that at all, foreign secretary ... what about the people in Gaza who have no food, no electricity, no water. Do you have a word for them?”

Cleverly said: “We want to minimise the loss of life and the best way of doing that is for Israel to prevent Hamas from perpetrating terrorist activity like we’ve seen over the last few days.”

In a speech at a London synagogue last night, Rishi Sunak said there were “not two sides” in the war.

He said: “As the prime minister of this country, I am unequivocal. The people who support Hamas are fully responsible for this appalling attack.

“They are not militants. They are not freedom fighters. They are terrorists. Their barbaric acts, are acts of evil. There is no other word to describe what we have seen.

“Teenagers at a festival of peace gunned down in cold blood. Innocent men, women and children abducted, raped, slaughtered even a Holocaust survivor taken away as a captive. And much of the sickening evidence posted online.

“There are not two sides to these events. There is no question of balance.

“I stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. The United Kingdom stands with Israel against this terrorism today, tomorrow, and always.”


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