'After 9/11 nobody told the US to sit down with Bin Laden': Minister dismisses calls for Gaza ceasefire

31 October 2023, 08:29

'After 9/11 nobody told the US to sit down with Bin Laden': Roads Minister tells LBC

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A minister has slammed calls for a ceasefire in Gaza with a stark comparison to 9/11.

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Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Roads Minister Richard Holden said a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war was not appropriate.

"You cannot have Israel laying down its arms. Hamas and their supporters want to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth," he warned.

Continuing, the minister said: "After 9/11, people understood the US had a right to defend itself. Nobody said 'sit down with Osama Bin Laden and put down your arms,' it's exactly the same here."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out a ceasefire in Gaza, declaring a "time for war" amid continuing calls for a humanitarian pause in the conflict from the UK and other allies.

Read more: Sunak tells police to prepare for terror attacks as Israel-Hamas war deepens community tensions

Read more: 'This is a time for war': Israeli PM rejects calls for ceasefire in Gaza as it would be 'surrender to Hamas terrorism'

UK political leaders have called for the pause in the fighting to allow Palestinians to flee Gaza and for aid to be distributed.

Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7, 2023, after Hamas fighters based in the Gaza Strip entered Israel in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza.
Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7, 2023, after Hamas fighters based in the Gaza Strip entered Israel in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza. Picture: Getty

Humanitarian pauses typically last for hours or days, with the aim of providing aid and support or allowing people to leave a region, rather than achieving long-term political solutions, according to the United Nations.

Ceasefires are intended to be long-term and usually seek to allow parties to engage in talks, including the possibility of reaching a permanent political settlement.

In the UK, both Labour and the Conservatives have grappled with rebellious MPs who have called for a full ceasefire.

Both the Government and the Opposition have instead voiced support for a humanitarian pause in the conflict.

Conservative MP Paul Bristow was sacked from his job as a ministerial aide at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology after urging Rishi Sunak to back a full ceasefire.

The Peterborough MP said he understood the Prime Minister's decision to sack him, adding he was better placed to "talk openly about an issue so many of my constituents care deeply about" from the backbenches.

Shadow ministers Yasmin Qureshi, Jess Phillips and Imran Hussain are among the Labour frontbench figures who have joined calls for an end to the fighting.

But the party is not likely to sack its internal critics from frontbench roles and will instead "continue engaging" with them, shadow science secretary Peter Kyle said on Sunday.

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald has been suspended by Labour, after what a party spokesman said were "deeply offensive" remarks made at a speech during a pro-Palestine rally on the weekend.

Mr McDonald said his reference to the phrase "between the river and the sea" was part of a "heartfelt plea" for peace in the region.

A slogan used by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free", has been described as antisemitic by critics, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman claiming it is "widely understood" to call for the destruction of Israel.

Former Labour MP Mary Creagh defends Keir Starmer's humanitarian pause stance

The conversation comes ahead of a planned speech by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer where he is expected to say a permanent ceasefire could risk more violence in Israel and Palestine at the moment.

The Labour leader will speak later calling on global leaders to work towards restoring peace in the Middle East amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

But Sir Keir will defend Labour's calls for a humanitarian pause to allow Palestinians to flee the fighting, and for aid to be distributed.

He is expected to say that a permanent ceasefire at this stage could leave Hamas with the capability to carry out further attacks in Israel.

Humanitarian pauses typically last for short periods of time with the aim of providing aid and support rather than achieving long-term political solutions, according to the United Nations.

Ceasefires are intended to be long-term and usually seek to allow parties to engage in talks, including the possibility of reaching a permanent political settlement.

The Labour leader's latest intervention on the conflict comes as several MPs on his frontbenches have broken ranks to call for a ceasefire, contradicting his support for a humanitarian pause.

Labour has also been at odds over its stance on Israel with devolved mayors like Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan, and with Labour-led councils across England.

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