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Starmer tells Netanyahu UK committed to cooperation with Israel

The British leader said the situation on the Lebanese border was "very concerning" amid Iran-backed Hezbollah attacks there.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
British Prime Minister Keir Starmer. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Sunday morning that his government remains committed to continuing London and Jerusalem’s “vital cooperation to deter malign threats,” Downing Street said.

In April, Royal Air Force fighter jets and refueling aircraft helped to defend the Jewish state against Iran’s unprecedented missile and UAV attack, shooting down drones near the Syria-Iraq border.

According to Sunday’s readout, Starmer told Netanyahu that the situation on Israel’s northern border was “very concerning” amid Iran-backed Hezbollah attacks, and urged all parties to “act with caution.”

Starmer said he looked forward to further deepening the U.K.’s close relationship with Israel.

The British leader reiterated his condolences for the “tragic loss of life” in Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. He repeated the need to return the 120 hostages held by the terrorist group, implement a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and increase humanitarian aid.

Starmer also stressed to Netanyahu the need “to ensure the long-term conditions for a two-state solution were in place, including ensuring the Palestinian Authority had the financial means to operate effectively.”

David Lammy, the U.K.’s new foreign secretary, said on Saturday that he would seek a “balanced position” on Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists following the Labour Party’s landslide election victory on Thursday.

“We want to see those hostages out,” Lammy told Reuters. The foreign secretary devoted most of his comments to his concerns for the alleged humanitarian crisis faced by Palestinian noncombatants in the Strip.

“But when we see the tremendous loss of life, 38,000 people—women and children—the fighting has to stop. The aid has got to get in,” he said, using a likely inflated number from the Hamas-run Health Ministry, which does not differentiate between terrorists and others.

Lammy’s position may put Labour at loggerheads with the government in Jerusalem. Netanyahu has made clear that while open to a temporary halt to the fighting to free the remaining hostages, he will not agree to a complete end to the fighting until Hamas is destroyed.

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