LONDON Aug 2 Britain believes the situation in
the Gaza Strip has become intolerable and could lead to an
increase in anti-Semitic attacks on British Jews, Foreign
Secretary Philip Hammond said in a newspaper interview to be
published on Sunday.
Hammond told the Daily Telegraph he was receiving thousands
of emails from Britons "deeply disturbed" at events in Gaza
since Israel launched an offensive against Hamas and other
guerrillas in response to a surge of cross-border rocket
"The British public has a strong sense that the situation of
the civilian population in Gaza is intolerable and must be
addressed - and we agree with them," Hammond said.
He called for an immediate ceasefire without conditions.
"We understand that Israel has concerns, we understand that
Hamas has concerns. We are not saying we're not interested in
those," he told the paper in an interview conducted on Thursday.
"But we cannot allow them to stand in the way of a
humanitarian ceasefire. We have to get the killing to stop."
Palestinian officials say the Gaza death toll has risen to
1,675, most of them civilians. Israel has confirmed that 63
soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian shelling has
killed three civilians in Israel.
On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
Israel would go on fighting Hamas in the Gaza Strip even after
the army destroys cross-border tunnels used by Palestinian
militants to attack its territory, the main goal for its
On Thursday, a group that advises Britain's 260,000 Jews on
security matters said anti-Semitic incidents in Britain had
risen to a near-record level since the start of the Israeli
The Community Security Trust said there had been 130
anti-Semitic incidents in July - the second highest monthly
total on record
Asked if the fighting in Gaza could lead to more attacks on
British Jews, Hammond told the Telegraph: "Of course it's a
concern and we have already seen certainly an upturn in
"But what has struck me most looking at my own constituency
in-box as well as the thousands of emails that I'm receiving
from the general public here is that it isn't just the Muslim
community that's reacting to this," he said.
"It's a broad swathe of British public opinion that feels
deeply disturbed by what it is seeing on its television screens
coming out of Gaza."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Peter Cooney)