The Israeli military campaign, which recently stooped so low in Gaza that it even bombed a hospital, is worrying western leaders who have stood by Israel in its so-called “right to defend itself” against Hamas fighters.
On the 19th October Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel “to demonstrate solidarity with a country reeling from an Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas gunmen and to hold talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu”, according to Reuters.
With Israel’s counter-offensive against Hamas in Gaza spiralling, Sunak will share his condolences for the loss of life in Israel and in the Palestinian enclave and warn against further escalation, his office said.
“Above all, I’m here to express my solidarity with the Israeli people. You have suffered an unspeakable, horrific act of terrorism and I want you to know that the United Kingdom and I stand with you,” Sunak told Israeli reporters after landing.
Sunak was due to visit other regional capitals after Israel, said Reuters.
His main reason to visit Netanyahu, it is claimed, is to show support to this government and the people of Israel.
Yet as a minor point, he also wants Netanyahu to allow for a humanitarian corridor into Egypt and for foreign nationals to be allowed out as soon as possible. There are also indications that, like many western leaders who were shocked by a recent bombing of a Christian hospital which killed around 300 innocent civilians, Sunak wants to convince Netanyahu to be more responsible with his targeting of Hamas fighters. Sunak, along with Biden, are concerned that the campaign lead by Netanyahu is reckless and indiscriminate, hence the flurry of visits to install a grain of sobriety in Israel’s mission.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he was “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion” and that he had “directed my national security team to continue gathering information about exactly what happened.” Speaking before a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, Biden said that “based on what I’ve seen it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.” He added: “But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure.”
Other world leaders have gone as far as demanding an independent investigation, like Germany’s Chancellor Schulz.
Rishi Sunak’s statement was also revealing. “Every civilian death is a tragedy. And too many lives have been lost following Hamas’ horrific act of terror,” Sunak said.
At least seven British nationals have been killed and at least nine are still missing since the attack on Israel, Sunak’s spokesperson said on October 18th.
Alongside Sunak’s visit, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who visited Israel last week, will travel to Egypt, Türkiye and Qatar over the next three days to discuss the conflict and seek a peaceful resolution, his office said.
Britain said the three countries were “vital to international efforts to uphold regional stability, free hostages and allow humanitarian access to Gaza”.
In an early statement, he said a Gaza hospital blast on October 17th that caused mass Palestinian casualties should be “a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict”, adding that Britain would be at “the forefront of this effort”.