Labour’s Emily Thornberry shut down the BBC for criticising Israel during the latest rise in hostilities with Palestinian group Hamas.
An increase in tensions between Israel and the group has seen 1,300 Israelis killed since Saturday. It is believed more than 1,500 Palenstinians have been killed by retaliatory air strikes.
In the aftermath of the attacks, the Israeli government has cut off supplies of food, water, and power to the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has branded the attack from Hamas as “the evil of terrorism”.
Labour’s Shadow Attorney General appeared on BBC’s Newsnight to discuss the conflict. She was quizzed on whether the decision to cut off the Gaza Strip was against international laws.
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She said: “Whatever actions are taken by a democracy have to be taken in accordance to international law. We have heard tonight from the President of the United States that he has been on the phone to [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and both of them have agreed that democracies need to act in accordance with international law.”
BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire replied: “Do you think cutting off food, water and electricity is within international law?”
Thornberry responded: “I think Israel has an absolute right to defend itself against terrorism.”
Derbyshire said: “That is not the question I asked.”
To which the Labour politician retorted: “It is an answer to the question you asked, and I think it is an appropriate one at this time.
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When pressed further whether or not she believed cutting off the supplies was against international protocols, Thornberry continued: “We’re now on day four and we hear there are troops amassing on the border and there may well be an incursion.
“Immediately before an incursion, as the immediate representative have said, then it might be appropriate in those circumstances for there to be the sort of action we have heard about. And then the invasion afterwards.
“I don’t know, because we are in the middle of a hot war and Israel is in the middle of defending itself. And we have to stand with Israel just like we would expect people to stand with us if we were the victims of terrorism as well.”
Express Online political editor David Maddox also criticised the BBC. Writing on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, he said: “The BBC trying to make Israel look like the villain again… Emily Thornberry having none of it.”
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