Hani Abu Jamea, a Palestinian from Khan Yunis, follows his father as he carries the wrapped body of his daughter Sidal, who died during the night while sleeping in a tent due to a fragment of shrapnel that hit her in the head following the Israeli bombing of a nearby position, in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2023. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The leaders of Australia, Canada and New Zealand on Wednesday warned Israel that efforts to destroy Hamas cannot mean “continued suffering” for Palestinian civilians and issued a renewed call for a ceasefire.

In a rare joint statement, Prime Ministers Anthony Albanese, Justin Trudeau and Christopher Luxon defended Israel's right to pursue the Palestinian militant group Hamas in retaliation for the Oct. 7 attacks that killed more than 1,200 people inside Israel.

READ: UN calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Biden warns that Israel is losing support

But the trio warned their Israeli allies that civilians must be better protected.

“We are alarmed by the diminishing safe space for civilians in Gaza,” the three said. “The price of Hamas’s defeat cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians.”

Israel faces growing international pressure to rethink an invasion and airstrike on Gaza that is believed to have killed thousands of people and left a swath of Palestinian territory in rubble.

On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a renewed ceasefire in Gaza and Israel's main ally, the United States, exerted pressure on the country's leadership to change course.

READ: US vetoes Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Israel still had some international support for its goals in the two-month-old war, but he also issued a stark warning.

“They are starting to lose that support due to the indiscriminate bombings that are taking place,” he said, urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to find a long-term solution to the conflict.

Israel's leaders have steadfastly refused to consider a long-term ceasefire in Gaza unless hostages taken by Hamas in the October 7 attacks are released.

But some members of the Israeli government admitted that the operation's “window of legitimacy” may be closing.

Arab and Muslim states have strongly criticized the invasion and international aid agencies consider the situation a humanitarian disaster.

Albanese, Trudeau and Luxon supported calls for a further pause in fighting and the release of more hostages.

“We want to see this pause resumed and support urgent international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire,” they said.


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“This cannot be unilateral…Hamas must release all hostages, stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields and lay down their arms.”



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