(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The United Kingdom blames Hamas for the IDF’s military operation against Gaza and supports Israel’s right to defend itself, its ambassador Matthew Gould told The Jerusalem Post.
“This was a conflict triggered by Hamas raining down on Israel hundreds and hundreds of rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli towns and cities. Israel has a right and indeed an obligation to defend its citizens,” Gould said on Tuesday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered the same message to his parliament on Monday, Gould said, adding that Cameron said that Israel’s critics should ask themselves what they would do if their country was attacked.
He spoke during a visit to the South to see the situation first-hand. Although rockets have landed in the center of the country where he lives, the situation is much more acute in the south of the country.
Gould said he understood that just a short distance from where he sat in Sderot, innocent Palestinians in Gaza had been killed in the fighting.
“We are very concerned, as is the whole world, about the number of casualties in the conflict, and like everyone else we hope it will be brought to and end soon and a cease-fire will be quickly agreed [on],” Gould said.
He said he was saddened by losses on both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides.
“What is true is that every life that is lost is a tragedy, every family that is affected is a family that is going to be suffering for a long time. The situation is a difficult and sad one,” Gould said.
It is for this reason that it is best to end the conflict, but it must be done in a way that prevents the return to such violence, Gould said.
He said he was lucky that his visit was not broken by incoming rockets or warning sirens.
Gould said that, unfortunately, this is not the first outbreak of violence that has occurred during his time as the UK’s ambassador to Israel.
“I have gotten rather used to hearing explosions and taking my family and my daughters into the bomb shelters,” he said. “I really hope that as someone who cares about Israel’s future, a time will come when people who live in Israel do not have to get used to that.”