PM Starmer holds conversations with both Netanyahu and Abbas

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PM Starmer holds conversations with both Netanyahu and Abbas

In a sign of the high priority plans to give to Middle East conflict Starmer has spoken with both Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Sir Keir Starmer speaking at LFI. (Credit: Blake Ezra Photography)
Sir Keir Starmer speaking at LFI. (Credit: Blake Ezra Photography)

Keir Starmer has held conversations with both Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in a sign he plans to give high priority to the continued conflict in the Middle East.

Setting aside time for the two phone-calls in a busy schedule, just days after Labour’s election victory, PM Starmer assured Netanyahu by telephone on Sunday that he was “committed”  to retaining close cooperation with Israel over vital security matters “to deter malign threats.”

The new UK PM also said he was lookoing forward to “deepening” the relationship between this country and Israel.

Starmer also said the situation in northern Israel with the escalation of fighting with Hezbollah and other forces was “very concerning” and urged “all parties” to act with caution.

Mahmoud Abbas born 26 March 1935 is a Palestinian statesman. He has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and has been President of the State of Palestine since 15 January 2005.. Image shot 2012. Exact date unknown.

Regarding the situation in Gaza, Starmer repeated to the Israeli PM his “condolences” over the “tragic loss of life” as a result of the Hamas attacks on October 7.

He stressed Labour’s position on the need for a ceasefire, the return of the hostages and an increase in humanitarian aid in Gaza.

In a separate call with Abbas, Starmer also expressed regret over the loss of life and suffering in Gaza as a result of Israel’s war against Hamas.

The Labour leader spoke of the “importance of reform” to ensure “international legitimacy for Palestine” and also said Labour’s “longstanding policy on recognition to contribute to a peace process had not changed.”

In a firm pledge, Starmer stressed his view that recognition of a state was the “undeniable right of Palestinians.”

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