PM to visit Israel as concerns grow over Middle East conflict
Rishi Sunak will arrive in Israel on Thursday, commencing a two-day trip to the wider region as concerns grow over the conflict in the Middle East.
The Prime Minister will meet the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Isaac Herzog following US President Joe Biden’s visit on Wednesday in a diplomatic bid to prevent fighting from spiralling into a larger crisis.
He will press for the route into Gaza to be opened as soon as possible to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and the exit of those trapped in the territory, No 10 said.
The visit will be part of a trip to the wider region during which the Prime Minister will also travel to a number of capitals to meet counterparts.
Ahead of his trip, the Prime Minister said: “Every civilian death is a tragedy. And too many lives have been lost following Hamas’s horrific act of terror.
“The attack on al Ahli Hospital should be a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict. I will ensure the UK is at the forefront of this effort.”
There had been reports earlier this week that Mr Sunak was planning a visit to Israel but he would not confirm them up until Wednesday evening.
In parallel to Mr Sunak’s travel, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will visit Egypt, Turkey and Qatar in the coming days to underscore the UK’s message.
Mr Cleverly said: ““It is in no one’s interests – neither Israeli, Palestinian nor the wider Middle East – for others to be drawn into this conflict.
“I am meeting counterparts from influential states in the region to push for calm and stability, facilitate humanitarian access into Gaza and work together to secure the release of hostages.”
Israel said on Wednesday it will allow Egypt to deliver limited quantities of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip amid its siege following surprise attacks by Hamas on October 7.
It came as Palestinians reeled from a massive blast at a Gaza City hospital that killed hundreds and as civilians grew increasingly desperate as food and water supplies ran out.
There were conflicting claims of who was responsible for the explosion, with Hamas officials quickly blaming it on an Israeli air strike.
Israel denied involvement and said the blast was instead due to a rocket misfire by Islamic Jihad, another militant group operating in Gaza. Islamic Jihad dismissed the claim.Published: by Radio NewsHub