Suella Braverman calls for government support for Israel to ‘finish the job’ in Gaza

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Suella Braverman calls for government support for Israel to ‘finish the job’ in Gaza

Former home secretary spoke out during latest debate in the Commons on Israel's incursion into Rafah

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Suella Braverman speaks at Tory Party conference
Suella Braverman speaks at Tory Party conference

Former Conservative minister Suella Braverman has sparked controversy in the Commons after she backed an Israeli invasion of Rafah to ensure it “finishes the job to eliminate Hamas from Gaza.”

In Tuesday’s latest Gaza debate deputy foreign secretary Andrew Mitchell held firm against repeated calls from some backbench Labour MPs and SNP politicians for a suspension of arms sales to Israel.

But Braverman insisted “sometimes countries must fight for peace” as she called for the government to maintain “steadfast and resolute” support for military action.

She told MPs:”We all want peace. We all want to see the end of civilian fatalities. But sometimes countries must fight for peace.

“Israel has a right to defend herself and a duty to protect her people from the brutal terrorist cult of Hamas.

Minister, will you confirm that the UK Government will maintain steadfast and resolute support for Israel as she finishes the job to eliminate Hamas from Gaza?”

Her call to allow Israel to “finish the job” sparked anger on the opposition backbenches.

Responding to Braverman’s comments Mitchell said:”She makes clear in what she says that Israel has the right of self defence and she set out very eloquently why that is the case, but Israel must also abide by international humanitarian law.”

Labour shadow foreign secretary David Lammy had tabled the Urgent Question on Gaza, and  said:”This is a profoundly concerning moment in this awful war,” adding ceasefire negotiations seem to be “going backwards”, with the war escalating.

Among the Labour MPs to call for arms sales to Israel to be suspended was Imran Hussain, who resigned from the Labour frontbench in November over the leadership’s stance on Gaza.

Rochdale MP George Galloway said the Government’s response to the situation in Gaza is “virtually identical” to last week, arguing: “The situation has escalated, but the Government’s response remains the same.”

The Workers Party of Britain MP continued: “There are 600,000 child hostages in Rafah alone. There is no proof of life from them, but millions of our people are watching on their phone today the proof of death and mutilation of many of them.

“The Government say they are doing everything they can, but they are not, because you could now stop sending weapons to the people who are raining down this death and misery. And the Labour Party could actually ask you too, but didn’t.”

Labour’s John McDonnell said: “We’ve all condemned Hamas’s attack, we all want to see the hostages released, but we are on the edge of witnessing a massacre, a mass murder of innocent men, women and children, at the behest of fanatical zealots in the Israeli Cabinet.

“We need now this Government to lead an international exercise to prevent this attack, but one way of preventing it is to make it clear to Netanyahu if this goes ahead, this Government will pursue him as a war criminal in the international courts.” 

Mitchell responded that McDonnell “knows very well that the Government is working with its allies, working with powers in the region, working through the United Nations precisely to ensure that that doesn’t happen.”

Conservative MP Mark Logan told the Government: “What needs to come to an end is the fighting.“Unicef today has said that Rafah is a city of children – and we shouldn’t be dancing around and playing words like a game of scrabble, we should call it what it is and we should be calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Another Tory MP, James Sunderland, added: “The defining feature of this appalling tragedy in Gaza is a civilian population inside Gaza that is somehow trapped between an appalling terrorist organisation and an appalling military onslaught.”

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