Prince William: ‘Too many killed’ in Israel-Gaza war

  • By Sean Coughlan
  • Royal correspondent

Image source, Getty Images

Prince William has called for an “end to the fighting as soon as possible”, in a strongly worded intervention in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

He has spoken of the “terrible human consequences of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack”.

The Prince of Wales says there is a “desperate need for more humanitarian support to Gaza” and the release of hostages.

His statement came as he visited the British Red Cross in London.

It is understood the government had been informed of the prince’s statement and his visits through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Image caption,

Prince William took part in a video link with Red Cross staff working in Gaza

“Too many have been killed,” said the prince, who was told by Red Cross workers about humanitarian efforts to support people caught up in the Middle East conflict.

He participated in a video link with Red Cross workers in Gaza, who gave him graphic first-hand accounts of their work.

The prince heard warnings from senior crisis manager Pascal Hundt that hospitals without medical supplies or fuel were at risk of “becoming a cemetery” and that distributing humanitarian aid had become difficult due to looting by “hungry gangs”.

Prince William was also told that the Red Cross was ready to assist in the release of hostages.

“It is civilians who are paying the price as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate,” said Beatrice Butsana-Sita, director of the British Red Cross.

Israel launched its operations in Gaza after a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 240 others hostage.

According to the Hamas-led Health Ministry, Israel’s military campaign on Palestinian territory has killed 29,000 people.

Prince William is making visits this month aimed at recognizing the human suffering and need caused by the war between Israel and Gaza.

He is said to have had strong opinions about what happened in the Middle East and was “deeply moved as a father”.

“Sometimes the importance of permanent peace only becomes clear when we are confronted with the enormous scale of human suffering,” the prince said.

The prince’s statement was welcomed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose spokeswoman said: “We want to see an end to the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible, so it is consistent with the government’s position.”

During another visit to a synagogue later this month, Prince William will speak to young people from different backgrounds in a meeting that will draw particular attention to concerns about anti-Semitism.

Responding to the prince, Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said: “Israelis naturally want an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released and once the Hamas terrorist army threatens to repeat the atrocities of October 7 have been dismantled.”

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said Prince William had shown “deep concern” for the well-being of all those affected by the conflict and that his visit to a synagogue would “send a strong message”.

Building bridges between faiths and tackling religious intolerance has been a special concern of the prince’s father, King Charles III.

But he has not made such public visits since the king’s cancer diagnosis earlier this month.

Last October, the king spoke of the “heartbreaking loss of life” in the Middle East conflict and made an impassioned appeal for respect between different religions and cultures.

But with the King renouncing such public involvement during his cancer treatment, Prince William will be among the senior royals making such symbolic and sensitive visits.

Prince William’s full statement reads:

“I remain deeply concerned about the dire human consequences of the conflict in the Middle East since Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7. There have been too many deaths.

“Like so many others, I want the fighting to end as quickly as possible. There is a desperate need for more humanitarian support to Gaza. It is crucial that help arrives and that the hostages are released.

‘Sometimes the importance of permanent peace only becomes clear when we are confronted with the enormity of human suffering.

“Even in our darkest hour, we must not succumb to the counsel of despair. I cling to the hope that a better future can be found and I refuse to give it up.”

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