LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary David Cameron will travel to Israel on Wednesday where he is expected to raise concerns over the high number of Palestinians killed and push for a “sustainable” ceasefire in the Gaza war.
Cameron’s trip, which will include visits to the West Bank, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is based, and to Qatar and Turkey, is his third to the Middle East in just over two months.
He will advocate for a pathway out of the war involving the release of all Israeli hostages held by Gaza’s ruling Islamist Hamas group, with the Palestinian Authority taking over the running of the enclave, and an end to rocket attacks on Israel.
In Israel, Cameron will tell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more should be “done, more quickly to significantly increase the flow of life-saving aid into Gaza” and he will raise “concerns over the high number of civilian casualties”, according to a foreign office statement.
“No one wants to see this conflict go on a moment longer than necessary,” Cameron said. “An immediate pause is now necessary to get aid in and hostages out. The situation is desperate.”
Israel unleashed all-out war in Gaza to eliminate Hamas after the its militants burst across the border on Oct. 7 and rampaged through southern Israeli towns and bases, killing 1,200 people, most of them civilians.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said on Tuesday some 25,490 Palestinians – many of them women and children – had been killed in the conflict since Oct. 7, and most of the 2.3 million population is displaced, causing a humanitarian disaster.
Cameron will urge Israel to open more crossing points to allow aid deliveries into Gaza, including the Israeli port at Ashdod and the Kerem Shalom crossing, and that water, fuel and electricity must be restored to the Palestinian enclave.
During a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the PA exercises limited self-rule, Cameron will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and highlight Britain’s long-term support for a peace deal establishing a Palestinian state co-existing alongside Israel.
Cameron will then travel on to Qatar and Turkey later in the week for further diplomatic talks.
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Mark Heinrich)