The UK government officials will convene an urgent committee meeting as efforts escalate to secure temporary halts in the clash between Israel and Hamas following a military attack on Gaza.
The deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, announced that he will lead a Cobra meeting on Thursday morning with representatives from the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, and Cabinet Office.
According to him, progress has been made in providing assistance to civilians in Gaza who are facing shortages of food, water, and medicine. However, discussions are ongoing at an international level to address the remaining needs.
According to the speaker, the UK has been advocating for designated breaks in combat that are both timed and located in order to facilitate the delivery of essential supplies, such as water filters and medical kits, by aid organizations. However, Britain has chosen not to comply with demands for a complete halt in hostilities.
“The reason why we don’t support a wider ceasefire is one just has to understand the position of people in Israel,” Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “If it had been the case in the UK that a group of terrorists had entered and indiscriminately sought to murder over 1,000 people, there would be demands that we remove this threat.
The Israeli government has the right to protect its people and remove threats, as long as it adheres to international law. We have presented this argument to the Israeli government and others.
The situation in Gaza, from a humanitarian perspective, is becoming more urgent. A Red Cross team has reported witnessing chaotic and exhausting scenes due to the complete blockade imposed by Israel, along with a severe shortage of fuel and ongoing bombings.
On Wednesday night, the Israeli military sent tanks to northern Gaza in a “targeted operation” in preparation for future combat.
According to a statement from the Israel Defence Forces, the soldiers left the area after the activity concluded.
Dowden expressed that the Cobra meeting will convene various sectors of the government to discuss potential actions and evaluate the current state of affairs. The topics of Israeli hostages and Palestinian aid were prioritized on the agenda.
He stated that it is important to have a strong hold on this situation across all government departments.
Over 80 Members of Parliament have appealed to the UK government to demand an end to violence. Labour leader Keir Starmer is in favor of requesting targeted breaks.
There are five citizens from the United Kingdom that are still unaccounted for, with some potentially being held captive in Gaza.