British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is in Israel today for a two-day visit to the Middle East, said that he “absolutely” supports Israel’s “right to defend itself and to go after Hamas”.
His visit to Israel follows that of US President Joe Biden as world leaders step up efforts to prevent the conflict with Hamas from spilling into the wider region following the unprecedented attack by its operatives on Israel on October 7.
Mr Sunak, addressing a joint conference with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said, “I know you are taking every precaution to not harm civilians, unlike the Hamas. Thank you for the evacuation of British citizens.”
The British PM asserted, “We recognise Palestinians are the victims of Hamas too. Glad you opened areas for humanitarian aid.”
Palestinians in the war-torn Gaza Strip desperately awaited the arrival of aid trucks promised under a deal Joe Biden struck with Egypt and Israel as the army struck more Hamas targets.
On his arrival in Israel, Mr Sunak said, “Above all, I’m here to express my solidarity with the Israeli people. You have suffered an unspeakable, horrific act of terrorism and I want you to know that the United Kingdom and I stand with you.”
The war – sparked by the deadly October 7 Hamas attack on Israel that officials said has claimed more than 1,400 lives – has set off a wave of fury across the Middle East against Israel and its Western allies.
The retaliation by Israel has killed 3,478 in Gaza, its Hamas-controlled health ministry said. Entire city blocks have been levelled, water, food and power have been cut off, and over one million people have been displaced.
Mr Sunak’s visit comes as other European leaders also undertake similar tours of the Middle East in a show of Western unity.
The US, UK, Germany, France and Italy form part of the so-called Quint, a diplomatic collective who have presented a united front over the actions of Hamas in Israel and Gaza.