Hamas ‘must accept’ Biden’s ceasefire deal – Foreign Secretary David Cameron

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said Hamas “must accept” the new ceasefire deal outlined by US President Joe Biden.

On Friday, Mr Biden detailed a three-phase deal proposed by Israel to Hamas militants that he says would lead to the release of remaining hostages in Gaza and could end the nearly eight-month-long war.

Mr Biden said Hamas is “no longer capable” of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel, as he urged Israelis and Hamas to come to a deal to release remaining hostages for an extended ceasefire.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden (AP)

Lord Cameron wrote on X: “With a new hostage agreement on the table, Hamas must accept this deal so we can see a stop in the fighting, the hostages released and returned to their families and a flood of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“As we’ve long argued a stop in the fighting can be turned into a permanent peace if we are all prepared to take the right steps.

“Let’s seize this moment and bring this conflict to an end.”

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Lord Cameron said a ceasefire could be turned into a permanent peace (Lucy North/PA)

The first phase of the US President’s plan would involve a full ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli troops from populated areas of Gaza, and the release of vulnerable hostages – including women, children and the elderly – in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

The second phase would see the release of all remaining hostages and further withdrawal of Israeli troops.

The third phase would be a reconstruction of Gaza, large areas of which have been reduced to rubble by Israeli air strikes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that “the war will not end until all of its goals are achieved, including the return of all our abductees and the elimination of Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities”.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Demonstrators from Amnesty International holding statements from Palestinians in Rafah outside the gates of Downing Street earlier this year (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Previous ceasefire talks ground to a halt at the beginning of the month after a major push by the US and other mediators to secure a deal, in the hopes of averting a planned Israeli invasion of the southern city of Rafah.

Last week, Lord Cameron called for a swift investigation into Israeli air strikes in Rafah.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Times: “There needs to be a political solution.

“What’s guided me through this is a sense of duty that if we are privileged enough to come into power it will be our duty to play our full part as the UK in the resolution of the issue in the Middle East.

“My own view is that over the last 10 years too many political leaders have looked the other way.”

Sir Keir also said that the recognition of a Palestinian state should be “part of the process” and “go alongside a safe, secure Israel”, adding that Hamas “cannot form part of the government of a Palestinian state”.