Foreign Secretary David Cameron urges Hamas to accept ‘generous’ ceasefire deal with Israel

29 April 2024, 19:10

David Cameron has called for Hamas to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza
David Cameron has called for Hamas to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Hamas should accept a "generous" ceasefire package which has been put on the table, Lord David Cameron has said amid a push by western leaders to end fighting in Gaza.

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The Foreign Secretary called for the militant group to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza while speaking at the World Economic Forum, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the first time.

Lord Cameron claimed it "never pays" to be optimistic in pushing for an end to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, but insisted the group should take the deal being offered.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had earlier weighed in, saying Hamas had been presented with an "extraordinarily generous" offer by Israel that he hoped it would accept.

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The UK wants to see an immediate pause in the fighting to get more aid in and hostages out of Gaza, then progress towards a permanent and sustainable ceasefire.

Speaking at at the global summit, Lord Cameron said: "I am never optimistic about this, because it never pays to be optimistic on peace in this very difficult situation.

"It does seem to me there is now, let's be frank, a pretty generous offer of a sustained 40-day ceasefire and the release of potentially thousands of Palestinian prisoners in return for the release of these hostages, who have now been in captivity for over 200 days.

"I hope Hamas do take this deal and frankly all the pressure in the world and all the eyes of the world should be on them today, saying 'take that deal'. It will bring about this stop in the fighting that we all want to see so badly."

He added it was important to build this pause in fighting into a "permanent sustained ceasefire" through countries investing in the Palestinian authority, and providing a "proper political horizon" for a two-state solution.

But he said this required the release of all Israeli hostages by Hamas and for the militant group's leadership and infrastructure in Gaza to be dismantled.

The visit to Riyadh is Lord Cameron's eleventh visit to the Middle East since becoming Foreign Secretary in November.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken also spoke of the need to broker an agreement between Israel and Hamas to end the conflict in his appearance in Riyadh.

"Hamas has before it a proposal that is extraordinarily, extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel and in this moment the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and ceasefire is Hamas.

"They have to decide, and they have to decide quickly. So, we're looking to that and I'm hopeful that they will make the right decision and we can have a fundamental change in the dynamic," he told the summit.

Israel's offensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 people, according to local health officials, and left a swathe of destruction across the territory.

It was sparked by Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel in which militants killed around 1,200 people and abducted another 250 hostages.

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