newsIsrael at War

British prime minister, Gantz hold unscheduled London meeting

The meeting followed one between Benny Gantz and U.K. Foreign Minister David Cameron, who described it as "tough but necessary."

Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz (l) meets with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, March 6, 2024. Source: X.
Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz (l) meets with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, March 6, 2024. Source: X.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined a meeting between his National Security Adviser Tim Barrow and Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz on Wednesday at 10 Downing Street.

Sunak’s participation provided an additional air of legitimacy to a round of high-level meetings that Gantz has taken in the United States and the United Kingdom this week against the wishes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered Israel’s American and British embassies not to assist with the visits.

Netanyahu argued that Gantz, who is chairman of the opposition National Unity Party, didn’t follow protocol, which requires ministers to clear travel plans in advance with the prime minister.

Sunak didn’t release a statement regarding the conversation, but Gantz’s office said that in his meetings with Sunak, and earlier with U.K. Foreign Minister David Cameron, he emphasized the importance of international pressure on Hamas to bring about the release of the hostages.

He also stressed Israel’s obligation to complete “its just and necessary mission of removing the threat of Hamas” and ending the terror group’s rule in the Gaza Strip, according to his office.

Gantz was subjected to an apparent dressing down in his meeting with Cameron, with the British foreign minister describing the conversation to the press as “tough but necessary.”

“I made clear the steps Israel must take to increase aid into Gaza, and the U.K.’s deep concern about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah,” tweeted Cameron.

Expressing dissatisfaction with humanitarian aid

“Palestinians are facing a devastating and growing humanitarian crisis. In my meeting with Israeli minister Benny Gantz today, we discussed efforts to secure a humanitarian pause to get the hostages safely home and life-saving supplies into Gaza.

“I once again pressed Israel to increase the flow of aid. We are still not seeing improvements on the ground. This must change,” Cameron added.

He added that the United Kingdom would assess “whether Israel is compliant with international law,” based on four demands in the statement relating to the expansion and access to aid. One of the items listed was an “immediate humanitarian pause.”

Cameron sparked controversy in late January when he suggested that the United Kingdom unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state so Palestinian Arabs “can see that there is going to be irreversible progress to a two-state solution.”

Conservative members of the U.K. Parliament said such a move would only reward terror.

Gantz’s U.K. meetings followed those he held earlier this week with top White House officials, who also underscored the need for more humanitarian aid to Gaza.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris urged Gantz at the White House on Monday “to take additional measures in cooperation with the United States and international partners to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza and ensure its safe distribution to those in need.”

Harris also criticized Israel’s handling of the humanitarian issue, an Israeli official told The Wall Street Journal.

Gantz made the case for the necessity of Israel destroying Hamas’s remaining stronghold in Rafah.

The White House has increasingly signaled its dissatisfaction with Israel over issues related to humanitarian aid and the number of civilian casualties.

Most recently, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller on Tuesday accused Israeli ministers of being an “obstacle” to Gaza aid.

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