Aid convoy strike was a tragedy but we must stand by Israel says Braverman

Former Home Secretary speaks to JC after meeting IDF officials, politicians and parents of hostages on four-day Israel trip


Suella Braverman meets Knesset speaker Amir Ohana - photo by Noam Moskowitz, Knesset press office

The unintended deaths of three British aid workers killed this week in Gaza by an Israeli airstrike were a terrible tragedy but should not weaken the UK’s support for the Jewish state, the former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has told the JC.

Speaking in an exclusive interview shortly before leaving Israel after a four-day visit, Braverman said she sent her “deepest condolences” to the families and friends of the seven victims, which included three Britons.

“They were brave men who were putting themselves in harm’s way,” Braverman said, “and it is right that Israel is carrying out an urgent investigation. But it did not intend to kill or injure these people, and this is not a reason for Britain to soften its support for Israel, which is fighting an existential battle against a murderous death cult.

“This has been a terrible mistake on Israel’s part. But they have been transparent in their approach to investigating it, and will do all they can to prevent such a tragedy from happening again – in contrast to Hamas, which celebrates, rather than regrets, the killing of civilians.”

Braverman said she had been deeply moved by her trip, which included visits to the Nova dance music festival site and Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where Hamas terrorists tortured, raped and killed dozens of victims during the October 7 massacre.

The kibbutz, she told the JC, made an impact on her akin to a modern-day Auschwitz, and at one of its burnt-out houses she met the father of a man who was decapitated by the terrorists – who had then taken his head to Gaza as a grisly trophy. He was, she said, desperate to have it returned so he could bury his child with dignity.

She also met families of hostages and the parents of IDF troops slain during the massacre or during the fighting in Gaza: “Something that’s not talked about is the number of IDF personnel who’ve lost their lives, either because they were kidnapped on October 7 and then murdered, or killed in battle.”

Braverman, whose husband Rael is Jewish, also met senior IDF officials and Israeli politicians, and had seen “the immense efforts being made to minimise civilian casualties and to supply aid”. The war, she went on, “is a war against Hamas, not a war against the people of Gaza”, and speaking as a former attorney-general, she said she was “certain that Israel is nowhere near breaking international law”.

Israel had made great progress in “degrading Hamas’s capability”, Braverman said. But the war was not over, and it was vital that “we let Israel finish the job”.

She said she was “very disappointed” that Britain had voted for last week’s UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan.

Braverman added that she was dismayed by signs that Britain and America are exerting increasing pressure to get Israel to accept that the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank capital Ramallah should take over Gaza after the end of the war.

“The PA in its current form is corrupt and complicit in the atrocities committed by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” she told the JC, “and it is not able to be a trusted partner for Israel, so in no shape or form is the PA the appropriate governing body for Gaza in the future.”

She was also withering about suggestions made recently by policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic that they might recognise Palestine unilaterally as an independent state even before a peace agreement: “We need to focus on degrading and eliminating Hamas, releasing the hostages and safeguarding the security of Israel.

“Only once those conditions have been satisfied should we even be exploring the possibility of what a Palestinian state might look like.

"If we do ever get there – and I hope we do at some point – then the governing authority has to be a trusted partner of Israel, that can be relied upon not to be a threat to Israel’s security, that can be relied upon to combat radicalisation and extremism, and be strong enough to withstand the Iranian regime and other Shia militias.”

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