Gaza death toll 'too high', UK FM David Cameron warns Israel
Cameron, who was speaking to the BBC on the day he visited Israel and the occupied West Bank, reiterated the UK government line that Israel has "a right to self-defence".
But in what appears to be a slight but significant shift in the UK government’s stance towards Israel’s war on Gaza, Cameron said: "When I met the Israeli president, prime minister and others, I stressed over and over again that they must abide by international humanitarian law, that the number of casualties are too high and they have to have that at the top of their minds."
Cameron said the UK was in "continuous dialogue" with the Israeli government about this.
When British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Israel on October 19, he claimed in a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel was doing everything it could to protect innocent people in Gaza, despite the death toll that now stands at almost 15,000.
"We want you to win," Sunak said.
Cameron – only brought in as foreign secretary last week, during a cabinet reshuffle by Sunak – cut a more critical and circumspect tone during his visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank as he welcomed the recent temporary ceasefire but underlined the need for a Palestinian state.
'These are crimes'
However, Cameron, who was only brought in as foreign secretary last week during a cabinet reshuffled by Sunak, cut a more critical and circumspect tone during his visit to Israel and Ramallah as he welcomed the recent temporary ceasefire but underlined the need for a Palestinian state.
"There won't be long term safety and security and stability for Israel, unless there is long term safety, security and stability for the Palestinian people," Cameron said.
"You've got to think about what will happen in Gaza after this conflict has finished and how is that going to be stabilised? How is that going to be secure? How's it going to be governed", the former prime minister added.
"And then you've got to think about how you start to build the capacity for there to be a state in which Palestinians can live in stability and security … of course, that's difficult. But you have to try."
Cameron also strongly condemned violence in the West Bank and particularly the surge in violent attacks by illegal Israeli settlers on Palestinians since October 7.
"People are actually targeting and on occasion killing Palestinian civilians, it's completely unacceptable and those people responsible for that, it's not good enough just to arrest them, they need to be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned. These are crimes,", he told the BBC.
He stopped short of calling for Israel to implement a long-term ceasefire urged for by many governments worldwide.
Israel has vowed to continue its war on Gaza once the current four-day truce ends.
Cameron has long been a staunch supporter of Israel. He was a member of Conservative Friends of Israel while he was an MP and had been patron of the Jewish National Fund, before stepping down from the role in 2011 while prime minister.