UK and Germany call for 'sustainable ceasefire' in Gaza in significant tone shift

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Dec 2023

UK Foreign Minister David Cameron and German counterpart Annalena Baerbock on Saturday said the "need is urgent" for a "sustainable ceasefire" in Gaza.

Cameron
UK Foreign Minister David Cameron (L) and German counterpart Annalena (R). AP

 

Cameron and Baerbock have published a joint article in The Sunday Times in the UK and Welt am Sonntag in Germany, calling for a “sustainable” ceasefire, saying the goal must be peace-lasting “generations," the Guardian reported.

The article reads: “Our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, and generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable."

“We know many in the region and beyond have been calling for an immediate ceasefire. We recognize what motivates these heartfelt calls."

“It is an understandable reaction to such intense suffering, and we share the view that this conflict cannot drag on and on. That is why we supported the recent humanitarian pauses.”

“Israel will not win this war if their operations destroy the prospect of peaceful coexistence with Palestinians. They have a right to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas. But too many civilians have been killed,” added the article.

The article marked a significant shift in tone for the two European powers toward the Israeli war on Gaza.

In the early days of the conflict, both the UK and German prime ministers visited Tel Aviv to demonstrate unconditional solidarity with Israel in its announced war objectives against Hamas.

Cameron and Baerbock published a joint article in The Sunday Times in the UK and Welt am Sonntag in Germany, calling for a “sustainable” ceasefire, saying the goal must be peace lasting “generations," the Guardian reported.

“Our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, and generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable."

“We know many in the region and beyond have been calling for an immediate ceasefire. We recognize what motivates these heartfelt calls."

They acknowledged this demand is an understandable reaction to such suffering.

“Israel will not win this war if their operations destroy the prospect of peaceful coexistence with Palestinians. They have a right to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas. But too many civilians have been killed,” added the article.

The article marked a significant shift in tone for the two European powers toward the Israeli war on Gaza.

In the early days of the conflict, both the UK and German prime ministers visited Tel Aviv to demonstrate unconditional solidarity with Israel in its announced war objectives against Hamas.

Building on this stance, in the following weeks, both London and Berlin vehemently opposed all calls for an immediate ceasefire in the war.

However, in recent weeks, both the UK and German governments have come under increasing domestic pressure to withdraw their support for the Israel war on Gaza.

In the UK, hundreds of thousands have been joining mass weekly protests in London and other major cities demanding 10 Downing Street call for an immediate ceasefire.

In Germany, thousands have defied a ban on pro-Palestinian protests, joining demonstrations across the country.

In October, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the UK joined the US in vetoing a draft resolution that called for an immediate ceasefire in the war.

However, in early December, the UK abstained in a vote on a similar draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

That resolution, which garnered 13 votes, failed to pass after the US vetoed it.

Israel is coming under increasing pressure from its allies over its war in Gaza, with key backer the United States criticizing its bombing of Gaza as "indiscriminate."

US officials have also told Israel that its window for conducting major combat operations in Gaza is fast closing.

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