Speaking on BBC television news channel today Mike Gapes said it was “a tragedy and deplorable” that for their own reasons both Hamas and Israel had rejected the call by the United Nations Security Council in resolution 1860 “for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”
He thought that Hamas had rejected a ceasefire because it wanted to continue the armed conflict as a way of strengthening radicalism and extremism in its internal Palestinian struggle with Fatah.
Israel had rejected a ceasefire now because it wrongly believed it could eliminate Hamas completely.
This was a tragedy for both the Palestinian people and the future security of Israel. It posed the threat of a wider conflict in the region. Mr Gapes called for a further meeting of the Security Council to consider what further action might be taken by the international community. He praised the efforts of the UK Government which had sponsored resolution 1860 which was adopted by 14 votes to 0 but criticised the USA for abstaining and therefore sending the wrong signal to the more hardline elements in Israel’s coalition government.
posted 9 January 2009