14 October 2023

Innocent will be casualties in fight to stop Hamas – Israeli embassy spokeswoman

14 October 2023

Innocent people in Gaza will inevitably die in the Israeli-Hamas conflict because “this is a state of war and we have to prevent anyone from harming us again”, the spokeswoman for Israel’s UK embassy has said.

Orly Goldschmidt told Times Radio that Israel was not targeting civilians, but it was entitled to defend itself after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack a week ago, killing at least 1,300 people.

She insisted medical supplies could not be allowed into Gaza in case Hamas uses them against Israel.

Ms Goldschmidt argued that Hamas was preventing residents in Gaza from moving along a “safe corridor” to the south after Israel gave 1.1 million residents 24 hours to leave the north of the territory.

Palestinian witnesses reported in turn that Israeli air strikes have hit cars rushing south, killing more than 70 people.

The UN has urged Israel to withdraw its evacuation order, warning of “devastating humanitarian consequences”.

Around 2,000 people have died in Gaza since Israel launched retaliatory air attacks.

Ms Goldschmidt said: “There will be innocent people who will pay tragically with their life, but this is a state of war and we have to prevent anyone from harming us again.

“You know ‘never again’, this sentence we have said after the Holocaust, it’s happening at the moment, and ‘never again’ is now and we need the full support of the international community because these are murderers, and we need to make sure they won’t have any capacity ever again to harm.”

Asked why medical supplies for hospitals in Gaza were not be allowed through the blockade on basic necessities, she said: “We cannot let things go to the borders at the moment because they will use this in order to kill us.”

She added: “This (is) on Hamas. Hamas should be the ones who should take care of the civilians.”

The UN and aid groups have said such a rapid exodus will cause untold human suffering, with hospital patients and others unable to relocate.

On the plight of 1,100 people on dialysis and the 100 premature babies said to be in hospital in the evacuation area, Ms Goldschmidt said Hamas was using such facilities as bases.

“We do not work to target the hospitals but Hamas are using those places, those areas, those facilities, instead of letting the hospitals… taking care of the people, they’re using those hospitals in order to fire rockets, and to kill Israelis,” she said.

She spoke of the horrors inflicted by Hamas after its shock attack on Israel last Saturday.

“This war is different from anything that Israel has ever encountered before,” she said.

“Hamas infiltrated our borders and they raped, they massacred. They have burned bodies, houses of people, alive.

“They beheaded infants. I have personally seen a video of Hamas members trying to behead someone who seems partly alive.”

She added: “We have no quarrel with the Palestinian people.

“We are trying to protect ourselves from the Hamas barbaric organisation, which is exactly if not worse than IS (so-called Islamic State).”

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