By Paul Goodman
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The Foreign Secretary's statement says that he deeply regrets the loss of life, and calls on all concerned not to escalate the crisis – so far, so predictable. He also strongly urges Israel "to do their utmost to reduce tension, avoid civilian casualties and
increase the prospects for both sides to live in peace. It is imperative
to avoid the risk of a spiral of violence". But he places the bulk of the blame fairly and squarely on Hamas:
"Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly
condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other
armed groups. This creates an intolerable situation for Israeli
civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of
attack from Gaza. The rocket attacks also risk worsening the plight of
Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which is already precarious."
The Times (£) reports that "a Hamas rocket has for the first time reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv,
opening a new phase in the violence between Palestinians and Israelis". The paper adds that "15 Palestinians and three Israelis have died since Israel launched Operation
Pillar of Defence yesterday afternoon". The Commons isn't sitting – so there's no chance for Mr Hague to make a more full statement and answer questions on it.