Foreign Secretary expressing support and solidarity, also called on Israel to minimise civilian casualties and get more humanitarian aid into Gaza…reports Asian Lite News
Foreign Secretary Cameron has urged Israel to allow more aid into Gaza to show the Palestinian people and the world that the West wants to help.
He also said all possible precautions should be taken to minimise civilian casualties. Cameron had talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.
He arrived amid uncertainty about when a pause in the fighting in Gaza, agreed with Hamas, would take effect. Qatar said the truce, aimed at allowing some of the hostages held by Hamas and some Palestinians held in Israeli jails to be freed, would now begin on Friday morning.
Humanitarian aid would start being delivered to Palestinian civilians in Gaza as soon as possible after the fighting stopped, a Qatari foreign ministry spokesman added.
Israel and Hamas began a four-day truce with hostages to be released in exchange for prisoners on Friday, the first major reprieve in seven weeks of war that have claimed thousands of lives.
The pause began at 7:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) after prolonged negotiations, silencing guns that have raged since Hamas’s raids into Israel on October 7.
Earlier, Cameron visited Kibbutz Be’eri, the scene of one of the worst Hamas attacks on Israel which triggered the war on 7 October. Around 100 Israelis were killed, many of them women and children. He said: “I wanted to come here to see it for myself; I have heard and seen things I will never forget.”
As he met Netanyahu in Jerusalem, he added: “There is never any excuse for this sort of hostage-taking. All the hostages should be released, but I hope that everyone who is responsible and behind this agreement can make it happen, to bring relief to those families, including, of course, there are British nationals who have been taken hostage.”
But as well as expressing support and solidarity, the foreign secretary also called on Israel to minimise civilian casualties and get more humanitarian aid into Gaza.
“It is vitally important that we demonstrate to the Palestinian people, to the world, that we want to help. Those people need food, they need water, they need medicine,” he said.
A defiant Netanyahu pledged: “We will continue with the goals of the war and to destroy Hamas, because Hamas has already promised that they will do the same thing again and again and again.
“There is no hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab countries if we do not eradicate this murderous movement, which threatens the future of all of us,” he told the foreign secretary. Until the pause comes into force, Israel has said it will continue to target Hamas.
Under the deal agreed, 50 hostages seized by Hamas last month would be released, along with more than a hundred Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails.
Meeting Herzog, Lord Cameron spoke of a “huge amount of trauma in Israel because of the taking of 244 hostages”.
He said he remembered “the worst days of being prime minister was when British hostages were taken in Syria, and so many of them lost their lives in the most gruesome, terrible fashion”.
He added: “I remember the effect that had on me as prime minister and thinking about that, and so perhaps know a tiny bit of what your nation is going through.”
On Wednesday, Lord Cameron met foreign ministers from Arab and Islamic countries – including the Palestinian Authority – at Lancaster House in London to discuss the crisis.
Counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia and Nigeria were there, as well as the secretary general of the League of Arab States and the ambassador of Qatar.
The foreign secretary said the group discussed how to use the planned pause in the fighting to consider “how we can build a peaceful future which provides security for Israel but also peace and stability for the Palestinian people”.
Amnesty International UK’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said “short pauses” were “not enough”, and Lord Cameron should back a full ceasefire “in the interests of averting further civilian suffering for Palestinians and Israelis”.
“With the horrifying civilian death toll from Israeli attacks in Gaza still rising and no permanent ceasefire in sight, it’s vital that David Cameron uses this trip to signal an urgently needed change of direction from the UK Government in support of humanity and international law,” he added.
The Hamas attacks in Israel last month killed some 1,200 people and saw about 240 taken hostage. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry has said more than 14,000 people have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory campaign.
Over 14,800, including 5,850 children, killed in Gaza
The death toll in Gaza from the Israeli offensive since October 7 has risen to 14,854, with 5,850 children among the casualties, CNN reported, citing Hamas authorities in the Strip.
Obtaining current figures has become a challenging task due to Israel’s ongoing air and ground campaign, CNN reported, adding that the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah, on Monday, reported 12,700 casualties, drawing data from sources in the Gaza Strip.
Recent health updates indicate communication disruptions in Gaza, hindering accurate data collection, the report noted.