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World News

Justin Welby warns heavier Gaza casualties threaten chances of peace

by Heather Preston

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the heavier the casualties are in Gaza, the less chance there is of peace, amid the escalating war between Israel and Hamas.

Speaking at the House of Lords on Tuesday, the Most Rev Justin Welby questioned the objectives of the war, warning that "the hopes of peace and reconciliation are set not only after a military victory, but also by how that victory is achieved."

Referring to the 74 Palestinians murdered in the West Bank on Saturday, Welby stated that the incident strengthened Hamas' position and weakened Palestinian Authority. "Can that be in the interest of a long term peace?", he asked Parliament.

"The more heavy the casualties, the less chance there is of a renewed peace, and Gaza has gone from level to level of violence over the last 15 years. That aim of war conducted is not fair.

"There is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. The latter is a terrorist organisation, the former is a legitimate state, whose citizens since 1945 have written much of the laws of war. They know how to do this.

"The innumerable deaths on October 7 and the taking of over 200 hostages has created a situation of trauma in Israel that it is hard to exaggerate."

Following a recent visit to Jerusalem, the Archbishop also called for a temporary corridor of sanctuary to be opened to allow those with serious medical needs and disabilities to receive care.

More than 1,400 were killed in the initial attacks on Israel by Hamas, and more than 200 people are still being held hostage.

The death toll since Israel's retaliatory strikes has now reached more than 6,500 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

According to the ministry, 756 Palestinians including 344 children have been killed in Israeli strikes in the past 24 hours.

The head of the United Nations has suggested that Israel's bombardment of Gaza is disproportionate.

Jerusalem's diplomats have accused Antonio Guterres of making excuses for terrorists.

Downing Street argues the Israeli government is in its right to respond to Hamas' attack launched 18 days ago.

The first UK flight carrying aid for Gaza has left the country with 21 tonnes of humanitarian supplies.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Jerusalem, Most Rev Hosam Naum have launched an appeal to support the Anglican ministry in the Holy Land.


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