The papers: The 'intolerable situation' of Gaza

With more deaths being recorded in Gaza all the time, Sunday's newspapers continue to dissect the conflict - and examine the political divisions it has created in the UK.

Image copyright AP
Image caption An Israeli soldier examines a tunnel discovered beneath Gaza

The Independent on Sunday's lead says: "MPs in furious dispute over Gaza".

The paper says Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of being silent over the "killings of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel's military action", and the prime minister has responded by saying he was "shocked" that Mr Miliband would "play politics with such a serious subject".

Mr Cameron's spokesman told the paper: "The PM has been clear that both sides of the Gaza conflict need to observe a ceasefire."

The paper adds that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is under pressure from party peers to withdraw the whip from Bradford East MP David Ward.

Mr Ward is under attack for a series of tweets, including one saying he would "probably fire rockets on Israel" if he lived in Gaza.

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is interviewed in the Sunday Telegraph.

Speaking for the Cabinet, he says "the British public has a strong sense that the situation of the civilian population in Gaza is intolerable and must be addressed - and we agree with them."

The Sunday Mirror reports that Israel has begun pulling troops back from Gaza amid warnings that Israel would "extract a bloody revenge if Hamas rocket attack continues".

The paper asks a number of different commentators for their take on the crisis, but perhaps the most downbeat is ITN diplomatic correspondent John Ray, who tells the Mirror: "It is impossible to foresee a lasting settlement as long as both sides refuse to recognise each other".

Harriet Sherwood in the Observer writes about the Palestinian tunnel network, the destruction of which is a key Israeli war aim.

Sherwood says there may be as many as 40 "offensive" tunnels into Israel, although not all have been detected.

A resident of a kibbutz near the Gaza border says people have warned the Israeli military "for years" that they had heard tunnelling noises beneath their homes, but the army had dismissed the noises as "water pipes".

Jason Burke, in Gaza City, writes that Hamas may "gain from the conflict" despite the devastation. The organisation has seen an upsurge of support in the West Bank, normally a stronghold of its political rival Fatah.

A Hamas-affiliated journalist says "the people are ready to stand more and support the resistance.

"If the people have paid with 1,500 martyrs already, why not another 1,500 for our freedom?"


'Red meat'

Two of the newspapers' biggest obsessions - the future of Britain in the EU, and the political future of Boris Johnson - will merge in a speech the London mayor is to make this week.

The Sunday Times leads with the story, reporting that Mr Johnson will tell the prime minister "he must be prepared to leave the European Union if he wants to get a better deal from Brussels".

The paper continues the "advice" will be seen as having "thrown down the gauntlet" to David Cameron, who has said that he wants Britain to stay within the community and would lead an "in" campaign if there was a referendum on the matter.

Mr Johnson's speech will be in support of a report from his economics adviser, Gerard Lyons, which claims Britain would be better off economically leaving the EU than staying in on current terms.

The report outlines eight key points which Mr Lyons thinks Mr Cameron should demand are renegotiated with EU leaders - a total beyond Mr Cameron's demands.

Former Conservative minister Sir Gerald Howarth tells the paper he supports the Johnson/Lyons line.

"The art of negotiation is not to give away your hand, but our hand has been given away by announcing that we won't leave," he says.

The Times' leader column says: "The politics of this is plain. The London mayor is plotting his re-entry into national politics... and on Europe he offers the red meat for which many in the Tory party hunger".

In the Sunday Telegraph's business comment, Liam Halligan says the Lyons report seeks EU reforms over its policies towards the City of London.

"This is hardly surprising given that incoming European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is now keen to create a new financial services directorate, which could skew the EU's financial policy away from the City and towards the eurozone," he writes.

"Whatever he says, the mayor's speech should mark the start of a serious debate on precisely what Britain wants from Europe. And about time too," he adds.


Suffocating despair

With its twin themes of horror and panic, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a story no Sunday newspaper can ignore.

The Sunday Times puts a "diary of hell" from a doctor trying to contain the outbreak, on its front page.

American Dr William Fisher writes from Guinea of how emotional he felt having a hitherto strong 27-year-old man die from the virus while he was bathing him.

"His sister is in the next room and likely to die in the next hour.

"This is all in front of the other patients in the room, many of whom are family members or neighbours. The despair is suffocating."

The Sunday Mirror carries the diary of Yorkshire-based health worker Cokie van der Velde who writes from Liberia: "I feel we've reached the tipping point. When I arrived... there were four or five patients in the treatment centre. Now the centre is overflowing, we don't know where to put people, the morgue is full."

Professor John Ashton, one of Britain's leading healthcare experts, writes in the Independent on Sunday that the West has been "tardy" in its response to the crisis.

Comparing the response to the reaction to the emergence of Aids, Prof Ashton writes: "In both cases it seems that the involvement of a powerless minority groups has contributed to a tardiness of response and a failure to mobilise an adequately resourced international medical response."

The Mail on Sunday reports on the two-bed isolation unit that is the only "Ebola-proofed" hospital facility in the UK.

"Is that it?" is the paper's headline, reporting fears the virus could arrive through Britain's airports.

The Sunday Express says experts think the disease "will 'inevitably' hit Europe".

It reports calls from virologist Professor John Oxford to have specially-trained nurses on duty at UK airports, and train GPs and A&E doctors to spot the signs of Ebola.

The paper tracks down the only British man to have survived the disease, Geoffrey Platt, who caught the virus accidentally when it was being studied at the UK's chemical warfare plant in Porton Down, Wiltshire, in the 1970s.

"I was in a tent in quarantine for 40 days by myself. It is something I really don't want to bring up ever again," he says.


King and country

On the brink of the 100th anniversary of Britain's entry into the First World War (the opening declarations of war had been made on 28 July), many newspapers take time to remember this colossal conflict - and its modern lessons.

The Culture Secretary Sajid Javid writes in the Sunday Telegraph: "The scale and scope of the First world War is almost unimaginable today, the losses impossible to comprehend.

"But we must never forget the lessons we learnt from those four bloody years. Nor must we forget the way people from the Commonwealth stood together when it mattered."

Image copyright PA

The Daily Star Sunday encourages its readers to take part in the lights out ceremony which will see thousands of public buildings and private homes extinguish all their lights on Monday at 11pm and leave just one candle or lamp on, as an act of remembrance.

"Millions of Brits volunteered to fight for king and country," the paper notes.

"Seeing what happened to them it's not surprising that most of us would be unlikely to do the same today.

"But their extraordinary courage still has something to teach us."

The Sunday Times has a map showing where major "lamps out" ceremonies are taking place, as well as public artworks and exhibitions to mark the centenary.

In a comment piece in the paper, Adrian Wooldridge hopes that the "100-year rift" between England and Germany, begun by the 1914-18 war, can be healed.

Noting that the UK has "a great deal to learn from Germany", Wooldridge writes: "A renewed alliance between British pragmatism and German thoroughness is exactly what Europe - and indeed the world - needs now."

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