May 20, 2024 12:08 am
How Britain’s promises clashed with reality, leading to a turning point in their relationship with Israel

The British government’s stance on Israel in the wake of the October 7 terrorist attack has shifted significantly, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arriving in Israel to pledge unlimited support for the IDF. However, six months later, promises of unqualified support have dwindled, with threats of an arms embargo if Israel invades Rafah.

The change in position is attributed to criticism from international leaders and organizations for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, particularly following a surprise visit by Sunak to press the issue during a meeting with Minister Benny Gantz in London. This shift became evident during a vote in the UN Security Council, where the British ambassador supported a resolution for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire without condemning Hamas for the atrocities of October 7.

The change in leadership within the Foreign Ministry has also played a role in this shift, with former pro-Israeli James Calverley replaced by David Cameron as Prime Minister. Cameron has been critical of Israel’s actions and has hinted at halting arms exports to the country if it continues its military activities in Gaza. This new direction aligns with public sentiment in Britain, which largely supports the Palestinian cause.

Despite historical support for Israel within the Conservative Party, recent actions by the British government have drawn internal criticism from conservative MPs who are disappointed by this departure from past policies. The Foreign Office is now considering whether Israeli military activities violate international law, which could lead to a cancellation of arms export licenses to Israel. This new approach towards Israel signals a departure from past policies and reflects changing attitudes towards conflict resolution and human rights issues around the world.

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