James Cleverly says Palestinians need aid and 'realism' amid ceasefire calls

UK Foreign Secretary defended Israel's military response and said that the UK wanted to secure a humanitarian pause to allow goods and aid in to Gaza

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the UK ambassador's residence in Abu Dhabi. Reuters
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Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said Palestinians need aid rather than a ceasefire in Gaza and called for "realism" so the escalating humanitarian crisis in the enclave could be addressed.

He has travelled to the UAE for talks on aid with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Cleverly said the Emirates was a “thoughtful and authoritative” voice on ensuring supplies reached those in need in Gaza.

He said calls for a halt in fighting were premature because there has been no indication from Hamas that it wants peace with Israel, following the attack on October 7.

"Calling for a ceasefire now is not what the Palestinian people need. Rather, realism requires that we put pressure to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza," he told Sky News Arabia.

Mr Cleverly said work was under way to ensure aid did not reach Hamas, which he accused of stealing from the Palestinian people in Gaza.

He also backed Israel's claims that the militant group was using hospitals and other civilian sites to shield its network of tunnels.

Mr Cleverly said Britain wanted to secure a humanitarian pause so that supplies could be moved into Gaza across its border with Egypt. But he stopped short of calling for a full ceasefire in the conflict.

Speaking at British ambassador's residence in Abu Dhabi, Mr Cleverly told Reuters that some aid was trickling into Gaza, but that the volume needed to be increased significantly.

"We're working extensively with the Egyptians, with the Israelis and others to try and have a humanitarian pause, a temporary pause, so that we can get that humanitarian aid to the people that need it," he said.

Updated: October 30, 2023, 3:14 PM