Cameron tells Gantz as ‘occupying power’ Israel has legal responsibility for Gaza aid

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Cameron tells Gantz as ‘occupying power’ Israel has legal responsibility for Gaza aid

At a meeting in London, Cameron told the Israeli minister 'That responsibility has consequences, including when we, as the UK, assess whether Israel is compliant with international humanitarian law'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

David Cameron meets Benny Gantz is London
David Cameron meets Benny Gantz is London

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has warned Israeli minister Benny Gantz that “as the occupying power” in Gaza, his country had a legal responsibility to ensure the availability of aid.

The foreign secretary added: “That responsibility has consequences, including when we, as the UK, assess whether Israel is compliant with international humanitarian law.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak then joined a second meeting held with Gantz, at which UK national security adviser Tim Barrow was also present.

At Wednesday’s first meeting in London Cameron also said the flow of aid into Gaza must increase and that “we are still not seeing improvements on the ground”.

He also said the UK was “deeply concerned” about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah.

But Cameron stressed that the UK supports Israel’s right to self defence.

Israel’s Channel 12 channel said Sunak had told Gantz that despite the pressure mounting on Israel over the war against Hamas, he will not forget the horror of the October 7th terror atrocity.

Gantz “thanked the UK for its efforts on behalf of Israel’s security” and also stressed the importance of securing the release of the hostages still held by Hamas.

Times of Israel reported that while the English readout of the meetings suggested Israel will support efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis, the Hebrew version made no mention of it.

In Israel, Gantz’s decision to meet with both Cameron in London on Wednesday and in Washington with American officials including vice-president Kamala Harris on Tuesday sparked a fierce backlash from Benjamin Netanyahu, who had not approved the trips.

It led to claims that Netanyahu had instructed the embassy in London not to help with former military chief and defense minister Gantz’s trip “in any way.”

Reports from Israel said that at Netanyahu’s instruction, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely ordered embassy staff not to assist the Shin Bet with making security arrangements for Gantz’s visit.

Reports said the Israeli embassy in Washington was also ordered to boycott Gantz’s meetings.

An Israeli Channel 13 poll also showed that Gantz, chair of Israel’s National Unity party, was likely to win 39 seats in an election, with Netanyahu securing 17.

Dudi Amsalem, a minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party, was openly critical of Gantz, accusing him on X of breaching his role in in the war cabinet and instead attempting to stop the [Israel Defense Forces] “from winning the war”.

Ahead of his meeting with Gantz, Cameron had told the House of Lords on Tuesday:”“We’ve had a whole set of things we’ve asked the Israelis to do, but I have to report that the amount of aid they got in in February was about half of what got in in January.

“So patience needs to run very thin, and a whole series of warnings need to be given starting with the meeting I have with Minister Gantz when he visits the UK tomorrow.”

US officials have indicated that President Joe Biden is increasingly frustrated with Netanyahu and it is claimed some in the Biden administration prefer working with Gantz.

Sources close to Gantz said the purpose of his visits to both the US and UK was to argue the case for Israel’s ground operation in Gaza to continue.

Speaking in the Lords on Tuesday, Cameron also said: “Clearly part of a two-state solution is the recognition of Palestine as a state. I don’t think that should happen at the start of the process because I think that takes all the pressure off the Palestinians to reform, but it shouldn’t have to wait until the end.
“I think recognition can become part of the unstoppable momentum we need to see towards a two-state solution.”

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