JERUSALEM (Reuters) -British Foreign Secretary David Cameron met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday after visiting the south of the country to see for himself the communities affected by last month’s Hamas attacks.
Britain’s Foreign Office said former prime minister Cameron, who was appointed to the foreign policy brief last week, was due to meet Palestinian leaders later to discuss the way forward in the crisis.
“I wanted to come here in person … to see just the true nature of the horrific attacks that you faced, I think that’s very important to do that and see that, we stand with the people of Israel,” Cameron told Netanyahu.
Cameron’s visit came as war raged on in Gaza, with a proposed truce and release of hostages delayed for at least another day.
“It’s important we talk about this potential humanitarian pause. I think it’s an opportunity to crucially get the hostages out and to get aid into Gaza,” Cameron added. “I hope everyone who is responsible and behind this agreement can make it happen.”
Netanyahu said getting the hostages out was “not without its challenges” but Israel was committed to getting everyone out.
“But we’ll continue with our war aims, namely to eradicate Hamas, because Hamas has already promised that they will do this again and again and again,” he said.
“There’s no hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and the Arab states, if we don’t eradicate this murderous movement that threatens the future of all of us.”
Earlier Cameron, wearing a flak jacket, toured damaged buildings in Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen, telling reporters he had “heard things and seen things that obviously I will never forget”.
Cameron met counterparts from Arab and Islamic countries in London on Wednesday to discuss the conflict.
Both British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Cameron’s predecessor James Cleverly have visited Israel since fighting began last month.
(Reporting Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Kylie MacLellan and William James in London; Editing by Jan Harvey and Christina Fincher)