How Britain’s promises clashed with reality, leading to a turning point in their relationship with Israel

Britain’s U-turn on Israel: A look at changing attitudes towards Palestine’s cause

In the aftermath of the October 7 terrorist attack, the British government pledged unwavering support for Israel as it prepared to wage war in Gaza. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a visit to Israel just days after the attack, bringing weapons and military equipment for the IDF in a transport plane. He declared his “unlimited support for Israel in the face of evil.” However, six months later, this support has waned as threats of imposing an arms embargo on Israel have emerged if it invades Rafah.

The shift in British policy is believed to be due to criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza. This was highlighted during a surprise visit by Sunak to press the issue during a meeting with Minister Benny Gantz in London. The change became more evident when Britain abstained from voting on a resolution condemning Hamas for its actions during the October 7 attacks, instead supporting a call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza without condemning Hamas outright.

This change in stance towards Israel is also influenced by leadership changes within the Foreign Ministry. David Cameron, known for his critical views on Israel, replaced pro-Israeli James Calverley as Prime Minister. Cameron has been vocal about his concerns over human rights violations in Gaza and has hinted at halting arms exports to Israel if necessary. This shift aligns with public sentiment in Britain, which largely supports Palestine’s cause.

Despite historical support for Israel within the Conservative Party, recent actions by the British government have drawn internal criticism. The Foreign Office is now considering whether Israeli military activities in Gaza violate international law, which could lead to a cancellation of arms export licenses to Israel. This new approach towards Israel signifies a departure from past policies and reflects changing attitudes towards the conflict in the Middle East within Britain.

In conclusion, while historically supportive of Israel, recent British government actions have shifted towards condemnation of Israeli military activities and potential suspension or cancellation of arms exports due to concern over human rights violations and changing attitudes towards Palestine’s cause.

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