Minister Defends Israeli Strikes On Gaza, Claiming It's Not 'Easy' To Stay Within International Law

Kay Burley asked: “So, accidental breaches of international law are acceptable?”
Kay Burley and Robert Halfon on Sky News this morning
Kay Burley and Robert Halfon on Sky News this morning
Sky News

A minister defended Israel’s ongoing air strikes on Gaza this morning by claiming it is not “always easy” to act within international law.

Since the Palestinian militants Hamas attacked Israel and took more than 200 hostage on October 7, Israeli air strikes have killed more than 8,000 people in Gaza, according to Gaza’s Hamas-led health ministry.

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed since the war began, according to Israel, many of whom were citizens killed in the Hamas massacre.

Israel has now launched its “second stage” of the war through a ground invasion, and Gaza is still under siege.

Human rights organisations have repeatedly expressed concern over the impact Israeli strikes are having on civilians establishments.

The United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres also criticised the “clear violations of international law” happening in Gaza last week.

So Sky News’ Kay Burley asked the education minister Robert Halfon if he believed Tel Aviv had breached humanitarian laws with its strikes.

He replied: “Israel has every right to do everything possible to take out Hamas.”

Burley replied: “Only within international law though?”

Halfon said: “Of course, as far as possible within international law.

“But it’s not always easy, if you are firing missiles from a school or from a hospital which has launchpads – don’t forget thousands and thousands of missiles are being fired onto Israel by Hamas as well.”

Burley asked: “So, accidental breaches of international law are acceptable?”

Halfon said: “Tragically, you weep for the loss of any innocent life.

“Israel is doing anything possible in accordance to international law to minimise that loss of life.”

He pointed to Tel Aviv’s repeated warnings to Gaza citizens to move south.

“But targeting hospitals is a breach of international law,” Burley pushed.

Halfon then referred back to the airstrike tragedy at Gaza’s Al Ahli Arab Hospital earlier this month, which neither side has taken responsibility for.

Clear evidence about who was responsibility is yet to emerge and investigations are continuing.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has said it was “likely” the strike was fired by Hamas, while US president Joe Biden told Israel he has seen data which shows the attack was “done by the other team”, alluding to Hamas.

However, Burley told Halfon she was talking about a different attack on another hospital from over the weekend. The news anchor did not say which hospital she was referring to, but concerns that bombs are striking land very close to Gaza’s Al-Quds Hospital have been growing in recent days.

“There are no easy answers to this,” Halfton replied. “What do you do if you put missile launches put on top of hospitals or you have Hamas in the basement...”

Burley said: “Do you target those hospitals, even when patients are still inside?”

The minister replied: “I’m just saying to you these are very very difficult questions. I would never target a hospital, of course not.”

He pointed out that Hamas is a terror network which appears to not be allowing foreign citizens out of Gaza.


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