Israel is 'making decision to act', David Cameron says in Jerusalem as he urges Netanyahu not to escalate Iran conflict

17 April 2024, 12:55

David Cameron has said it is 'clear' Israel is planning to act
David Cameron has said it is 'clear' Israel is planning to act. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

David Cameron has said that Israel is "making the decision to act" in retaliation to Iran's missile strike, as he flew to Jerusalem to urge Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.

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The UK's Foreign Secretary said the UK wanted to "show solidarity" with Israel, but hoped they were "smart as well as tough" in their actions against Iran.

Israel's allies have all urged caution after Iran's strike on Saturday night, in which Tehran sent over 300 drones and missiles into Israeli territory.

Most were shot down with the help of allies, including the UK and US. No one was killed, but a girl was severely injured and a military base was damaged.

Lord Cameron told reporters in Jerusalem that the UK was "right to have shown solidarity with Israel" and "right to have made our views clear about what should happen next".

Read more: Lord Cameron urges Israel to ‘take the win,' don't retaliate and focus on defeating Hamas after Iran’s ‘double defeat’

Read more: Israel planning ‘painful’ strike on Iran despite Western calls for calm after unprecedented missile attack

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"But it is clear the Israelis are making the decision to act," he added.

"We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible and in a way that, as I said yesterday, is smart as well as tough.

"But the real need is to refocus back on Hamas, back on the hostages, back on getting the aid in, back on getting a pause in the conflict in Gaza."

Israel has approved an "offensive" action in response to Iran's attack - but it is still unclear what this will be, and when it will come.

James O'Brien wonders what Netanyahu's next move will be

Mr Netanyahu is said to have asked the IDF to draw up a list of targets they could hit that the US would not object to.

A 'careful' Israeli response could come in the form of a precision strike on a facility in Tehran, or a cyber attack, according to the Washington Post.

“Everybody agrees that Israel must respond,” an Israeli official told the publication. “How to respond, when to respond, is the question.”

Lord Cameron said in Jerusalem that the UK wanted more "coordinated sanctions" to be brought in against Iran.

He said: "Britain has in many ways led the way with our new sanctions regime, sanctioning dozens of people in Iran, sanctioning the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in its entirety, and I think there is more that we can do to show a united front, that Iran is behind so much of the malign activity in this region, backing Hamas, backing Hezbollah, backing the Houthis.

David Cameron
David Cameron. Picture: Alamy

"They need to be given a clear and unequivocal message by the G7 and I hope that will happen at the weekend."

Both Labour and former Foreign Secretary Suella Braverman have called for the IRGC to be proscribed as a terror organisation in the UK, but ministers have so far resisted this.

Lord Cameron has suggested that banning the IRGC could threaten the UK's diplomatic ties with Iran.

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