UK won't stop Israeli arms sales, David Cameron says

UK won't stop Israeli arms sales, David Cameron says

The UK will not end its arms supply to Israel as it would not be a “wise path”, foreign secretary Lord David Cameron said.

Lord Cameron also said that it would be "extremely dangerous" for Israel to attempt a major offensive in Rafah.

Israel has urged residents in more areas of Gaza’s southern-most city to evacuate in a further sign its military is preparing for a ground incursion.

The US has threatened to halt the supply of offensive weapons to Israel if it carries out an attack on Rafah.

Asked whether Britain would follow in America’s footsteps, Lord Cameron argued the two nations are “in a totally different situation”.

He added: “The United States is a massive, bulk, state supplier of weapons to Israel, including 1,000lb bombs and all the rest of it.

“The UK provides less than 1 per cent of Israel’s weapons and it’s not a state supplier. We have a licensing system and those licences can be closed if it’s judged there’s a serious risk of a serious international human rights violation.”

The Tory peer said he was pushed to declare an immediate arms embargo a few months ago, “and the very next thing that happened just a few days later, was a massive Iranian attack on Israel”.

“So I don’t think it would have been a wise path, and I still don’t think it would be a wise path,” he said, adding it would “strengthen Hamas”.

Lord Cameron also said Israel must “do better on” at allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“I’ve said many times that I’m not content with the action Israel has taken over humanitarian aid,” he said, adding there are “some signs” of improvement, “but not fast enough”.

Support: Rishi Sunak and Lord Cameron (PA Wire)
Support: Rishi Sunak and Lord Cameron (PA Wire)

Lord Cameron made the rounds on Sunday morning shows, including an appearance with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, and commented on the general election timing - with a vote date yet to be announced.

He branded Hamas “callous” and “inhuman” over a video showing British-Israeli hostage Nadav Popplewell, who the militants said had died in Gaza.

The Palestinian militant group released undated footage of Mr Popplewell, who was taken hostage during its October 7 attack on Israel, with a black eye confirming his name.

Hamas on Saturday released a statement that the 51-year-old had died after being wounded in an Israeli air strike a month ago.

It provided no evidence for the claim and the Israeli military has not commented.

Mr Cameron on Sunday said he could give no updates on the fate of Nadav Popplewell as the Foreign Office investigates what happened.

“Like everyone else, I watched the video on Twitter, X, last night, put out by Hamas of Nadav answering a question as to who he was,” he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“I watched that video and you just think, what callous people they are to do that, to play with the family’s emotions in that way.

“I met Nadav’s family, his sister, and I know the heartbreak they’ve been going through for over 200 days, and when you see what Hamas are prepared to do, you just realise the terrible, dreadful, inhuman people, frankly, that we are dealing with.”

Nadav Popplewell was taken hostage in the October 7 Hamas attacks (PA Media)
Nadav Popplewell was taken hostage in the October 7 Hamas attacks (PA Media)

During his appearance, the foreign secretary also said it would be "absolutely right" for Rishi Sunak to call the election in the second half of the year because it would give voters time to see "the plan is working".

He told Trevor Phllips: "I'd say to him 'stick to the plan'. I think the Prime Minister is a good man doing a great job at a difficult time.

"And I think you've got a very clear choice opening up, and that's what happens as you get to the end of a parliament. It stops being a referendum on the Government every day and it starts being a choice between two teams.

"The longer actually we have between now and the election, the more you're going to see the plan is working."

Asked about election timing, the Tory peer said: "He said second half of the year and I think that's absolutely right, because you can see the economic plan is working."