‘Sustainable ceasefire’: Cameron calls for lasting peace piling more pressure on Israel’s leader

Politics

David Cameron has called for a “sustainable ceasefire” in the escalating Gaza conflict – adding to growing global pressure on Israel.

The home secretary’s intervention saw him warn that “too many civilians have been killed”.

It sees the UK follow Joe Biden’s White House in expressing unease about the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration to reduce civilian casualties and its plans for the future of Gaza.

Writing in the Sunday Times in a joint article with German foreign affairs minister Annalena Baerbock, Lord Cameron said: “Our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today.

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“It must be peace lasting for days, years, generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable.”

But both Lord Cameron and his German counterpart stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire, something that has been a recurring demand by pro-Palestinian campaigners as the death count in Gaza continues to grow.

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“We know many in the region and beyond have been calling for an immediate ceasefire,” the article said. “We recognise what motivates these heartfelt calls.

“It is an understandable reaction to such intense suffering, and we share the view that this conflict cannot drag on and on.

“That is why we supported the recent humanitarian pauses.”

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The offensive, triggered by the unprecedented 7 October Hamas attack on Israel, has flattened much of northern Gaza and driven 85% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes.

In a warning to Israel, the two foreign ministers said: “Israel has the right to defend itself but, in doing so, it must abide by international humanitarian law.

“Israel will not win this war if its operations destroy the prospect of peaceful co-existence with Palestinians. They have a right to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas.

“But too many civilians have been killed. The Israeli government should do more to discriminate sufficiently between terrorists and civilians, ensuring its campaign targets Hamas leaders and operatives.”

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Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government’s “long standing position remains that a two-state solution is the right outcome”.

He added: “No one wants this conflict to go on for longer than necessary. Of course Israel has a right to defend itself from an appalling terrorist attack that it suffered.

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“But as I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu just last week Israel muist take every available precaution to protect innocent civilian lives.

“We are doing a lot in the UK about getting more aid into Gaza – we’ve been a leader in that.

“We are continuing to press for more access to get more support to the people who need it and we continue to support calls for a sustainable ceasefire…”

It comes as Mr Netanyahu faces public anger after it emerged that the three hostages who were mistakenly shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip had been waving a white flag and were shirtless when they were killed.

In a nationwide address on Saturday, the Israeli prime minister said the killings “broke my heart, broke the entire nation’s heart,” but he indicated no change in the country’s military campaign.

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“We are as committed as ever to continue until the end, until we dismantle Hamas, until we return all our hostages,” he said.

On Saturday, Mr Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan, urged Israel to scale down its Gaza campaign and transition to more narrowly targeted operations against Hamas leaders.

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