James Heappey Says It's 'Awful' Palestinians In Gaza Are 'Caught Up' In Hamas-Israel War

"No one should pretend this is going to be anything but horrific."
James Heappey told Sky News' Kay Burley that Palestinians in Gaza are caught up in the Hamas-Israel war
James Heappey told Sky News' Kay Burley that Palestinians in Gaza are caught up in the Hamas-Israel war
Sky News

James Heappey told Sky News on Monday that it was “awful” how Palestinians in Gaza were getting caught up in the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel.

After militants in the Hamas group launched a surprise attack on Israelis and took more than 100 people hostage, Israel announced a complete siege on Gaza, and is expected to launch a retaliatory ground offensive soon.

It has also been launching air strikes on Gaza since last week.

The Israel Defence Force says Hamas’ attacks have killed 1,400 people.

Authorities in Gaza say at leat 2,750 people have been killed so far by the Israeli strikes, a quarter of them children and nearly 10,000 wounded, while another 1,000 people are missing.

Sky News host Kay Burley said to Heappey, the armed forces minster: “Bombing of civilians in Gaza is a war crime. We know that.”

The UN has called out potential war crimes in both Israel and Gaza, claiming there was “already clear evidence” of illegal acts from both parties.

Burley asked: What is the British government’s view on that?”

He replied: “The British government, like the American government and every other government that is rallying to support Israel, recognises absolutely that it has a right to defend itself.

“So too, do we expect that democracies like ours hold themselves to a higher standard.

“And in fairness that is what we are seeing from Israel. It is extraordinarily difficult for them to prosecute the operation that they must whole minimising the loss of human life.

“But they are telling the population of Gaza where they can move to in order to be safe.”

On Friday, Israel told 1.1 million residents of Gaza (out of 2.3 million) to move south for their “own safety” ahead of the anticipated Israeli offensive.

Heappey added: “And that is in stark contrast to Hamas, who are telling them to stay put in order to maintain their human shield.”

Burley pointed out that Tel Aviv had told more than a million civilians to move, even though some have no fuel or animals to help them relocate, and others have been hospitalised by the air strikes.

Heappey replied: “Kay, I agree. I think that this is a awful, awful situation, in which the Palestinian people of Gaza are being caught up between what must unfold between Israel and Hamas.”

He said Israel was doing everything it can in terms of telling people where they can move to to be out of reach.

He added: “The longer that Hamas has to dismantle its networks in Gaza, the longer it has to disperse its munitions, the more that when the ground offence begins, there will be nothing left to destroy.

“And in that situation, Hamas will just re-appear, continue to subjugate the population of Gaza as it has for the last 10 years, and will continue to launch attacks into Israel. Some of which may be of the barbarity we saw last Saturday.

″So, I think Israel is doing everything it reasonably can to tell the civilian population to move.

He said he had every confidence that Israel will be precise in its targeting, and will have strong intelligence.

Then the minister added: “But no one should pretend this is going to be anything but horrific. I’m afraid we’re going to see some awful things over the next few days.”


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