David Cameron visits site of October 7 massacres ahead of ceasefire deal

The foreign secretary is set to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday


BE'ERI, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 23: David Cameron, the new UK foreign secretary and former prime minister, views a home destroyed in last month's Hamas attack on November 23, 2023 at kibbutz Be'eri, Israel. Cameron was joined by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on a visit to the kibbutz where scores of people were killed in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. His visit comes as Israel is on the brink of commencing a temporary ceasefire with Hamas, although the timing of the truce is still not confirmed. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

David Cameron has visited Kibbutz Be'eri, where he hailed the "crucial opportunity" presented by an expected pause in fighting to get Israeli hostages out of Gaza.

The newly appointed foreign secretary and member of the House of Lords toured the devastated village with his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, on the first day of his trip to the region.

Cameron is expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog later today.

Writing on X/Twitter, the foreign secretary said: "I wanted to come here to see it for myself; I have heard and seen things I will never forget.

"Today is also a day where we hope to see progress on the humanitarian pause. This is a crucial opportunity to get hostages out and aid into Gaza, to help Palestinian civilians who are facing a growing humanitarian crisis."

Kibbutz Be'eri saw some of the worst atrocities committed on October 7, including the murder of 120 residents and the destruction of many of its homes.

According to Zaka chief Yossi Landau, around 80 per cent of the bodies discovered at the village showed signs of torture, including two piles of children who had been tied together and burnt to death.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said: "World leaders need to see the atrocities of Hamas with their own eyes, and understand that Israel is fighting a terrorist organisation worse than Isis.

"Even after the temporary ceasefire for the release of kidnapped women and children to Gaza, Israel will continue fighting to achieve its goals: the destruction of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip and the release of each and every one of the hostages.

"We thank the UK for its firm stance by Israel's side since the beginning of the war and its support for our right to protect our citizens".

Cohen asked his British counterpart to act on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, a 2006 call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah and the disarmament of the Shia militia.

The step would prevent the expansion of war to Israel's northern border, he said.

Cameron's visit comes as Israel and Hamas prepare to enter a temporary ceasefire agreement that will see 50 hostages released by the terror group.

In a surprise announcement made on Wednesday night, a top Netanyahu aide said negotiations are "constantly progressing" but that the deal would commence on Friday, rather than Thursday, as was initially expected.

Over 200 hostages, both Israeli and foreign nationals are still being held in Gaza.

In a statement, Britain's Foreign Office said: "The foreign secretary is in the Middle East where he will be speaking to Israeli and Palestinian leaders about the crisis and the way forward.

"He will discuss the need to get all hostages out of Gaza and get more aid in, as well as the need to work towards a lasting solution that delivers security and justice for Israelis and Palestinians."

Before departing, Lord Cameron chaired a meeting of foreign ministers from Arab and Islamic countries in London to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Speaking afterward, he said the humanitarian pause was an opportunity to get aid into Gaza and bring out kidnapped Israelis.

Cameron said: "Obviously we want all of the hostages to be released there was never a justification for this and we'll continue to work to get that done. But we must use this pause to help the Palestinian people in Gaza to help their suffering.

"But also, let's think about the longer term, how do we start to put in place the building blocks of a secure and stable Israel able to defend itself but crucially, also justice and peace and stability for Palestinian people."

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