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Tory MP accuses Israeli and Hamas of ‘war crimes’ in Israel and Gaza | Politics News

today18/10/2023

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A Tory MP has accused both Israel and Hamas of having “committed war crimes” as part of the current conflict.

Crispin Blunt, who is also a paid director of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians, made the claim in parliament as MPs were updated on the hospital blast in Gaza last night, which is reported to have killed hundreds of people.

Israel has denied any involvement, saying the explosion was caused by a misfired rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group.

But the PIJ has rejected responsibility, and Hamas has pointed the blame back at Israel, calling it a “crime of genocide”.

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Many MPs have made a call for an independent investigation into the incident – though Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned the “practicality” of carrying out such probes would be difficult in the current circumstances.

However, Mr Blunt said whatever the outcome, it was “not going to matter a great deal to all those who are dead in the hospital”.

He added: “Whether the Israeli explanation is correct, that it was an Islamic Jihad missile that misfired and then landed amongst explosives that were on the hospital site, which then killed so many people, or whether it was an Israeli strike, in the end, both sides have now committed war crimes.

“If there are just additional crimes being added to the ledger on either side, that is just simply what this will be.”

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Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said the blast at a hospital in Gaza is an

The backbencher claimed people in Gaza were “starving [and] dehydrating to death” due to the actions of Israel, and calling for them to move to the south of the strip ahead of a possible ground offensive also equated to collective punishment which is illegal under international law”.

And he reiterated his demand on the government to call for a ceasefire, saying it was “the only way to get out of this mess”.

Read more:
What we know about the hospital blast in Gaza
How many are now displaced in Gaza?
What is the two-state solution?

Mr Cleverly told his Tory colleague the government “of course always reminds Israel, as we would with any other nation involved with military operations, of their duties under international law”.

And he said that while Israel’s president Isaac Herzog had “reinforced that commitment, we hear no such commitment from Hamas”.

The foreign secretary added: “I think the House needs to understand that prior to Hamas’s terror attack, tens of thousands of Gazans passed through the border into Israel everyday in order to work.

“Israel provided – often without payment – water, electricity and gas to the people of Gaza. That was interrupted as a direct result of Hamas’s brutal terrorist action.”

The Israeli army has responded to allegations of war crimes by saying it follows international law and strikes only legitimate military targets as it seeks to root out militants who embed themselves among the civilian population.

Representatives for Hamas, which took hostages during its attack on Israel last week, has said non-Israelis kidnapped on 7 October are “guests” who would be released “when circumstances allow”.



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