UK’s Cameron warns fighting in Gaza must stop ‘right now’

‘That’s what we need to happen rather than an offensive in Rafah,’ UK foreign secretary says.

LONDON — The U.K.’s top diplomat said conflict in Gaza must stop “right now,” amid mounting international pressure on Israel not to launch a ground offensive in Rafah.

Speaking on a trip to the Falkland Islands, U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron urged both Israel and Hamas to work towards a cease-fire “rather than an offensive in Rafah.”

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said Monday that a ground invasion of the densely-populated Rafah — Gaza’s southernmost town and a refuge for Palestinians who have fled fighting elsewhere — will begin by March 10 unless Hamas frees hostages held after its October 7 massacre in Israel.

Cameron said: “We are calling for a stop to the fighting right now. We think that what we need is a pause in the fighting and the hostages to come out and aid to go in. That should happen straight away.”

“Then what we need to do is turn that pause into a permanent, sustainable cease-fire,” he added.

The foreign secretary, a former prime minister who was brought back into frontline politics last year, reiterated the U.K.’s call for a longer-term settlement in the Middle East, saying that would require Hamas’ leaders to leave Gaza, the dismantling of the “machinery of terrorism,” and a “proper horizon for the Palestinian people, a new Palestinian government.”

“But let’s make that happen, let’s have the stop to the fighting now, have that hostage release and then build on it from here,” Cameron said. “That’s what we need to happen rather than an offensive in Rafah.”

Cameron’s comments come as pressure from the U.S. over Rafah mounts ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting.

A resolution proposed by the United States calls for a cease-fire “as soon as practicable,” the Associated Press reported, and says a ground invasion “should not proceed under current circumstances.” It reportedly warns against the further displacement of civilians.

But the United States’ proposed resolution comes after it rejected a separate Arab-backed demand for an immediate cease-fire.

Source: Politico