Hague calls for investigation into flotilla raid

William Hague also called on Hamas to release captured soldier Gilad Shalit

William Hague also called on Hamas to release captured soldier Gilad Shalit

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said he is “seriously concerned” about Israel’s actions and called for a full investigation.

Mr Hague gave a statement to the House of Commons today and said the government had expressed its “disappointment” to the Israeli government about its lack of access to the 37 British nationals who were on board the flotilla, of whom it has been in contact with twenty-eight.

He said: “We have demanded urgent information about and access to all UK nationals involved. Their welfare is our top priority at this time.

“There is real understandable and justified anger at the events which have unfolded.”

Some of the British nationals did not have their passports or had torn up their documents, delaying their return, he added.

He demanded a “full, credible, impartial and independent investigation” into the events but said that it should not be viewed in isolation.

“[The events] arise from the unacceptable and unsustainable situation in Gaza which is a cause of public concern here in the UK and around the world,” he said.

“The House should not forget the role played by Hamas in this conflict. They continue to pursue an ideology of violence and directly to undermine prospects for peace in the region.

“We call on Hamas to make immediate and concrete steps towards to the Quartet principles; unconditionally to release Gilad Shalit who has been held in captivity for four years, and end its interference with the operations of NGOs and UN agencies in Gaza.

He was asked several questions by MPs who criticised Israel’s actions, including Sir Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, who said the Jewish state had committed “war crimes”.

Last updated: 11:12am, June 9 2010