British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak landed in Tel Aviv late Wednesday night to begin a 48-hour diplomatic foray to the Middle East.
The previously unannounced mission will caution leaders against any “dangerous escalation” in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorist forces and their backers while telling the Jewish state he is with them.
“I am in Israel, a nation in grief,” Sunak wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, soon after his arrival “I grieve with you and stand with you against the evil that is terrorism. Today, and always.”
I am in Israel, a nation in grief.
I grieve with you and stand with you against the evil that is terrorism.
Today, and always.
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 19, 2023
Sunak left as back at home hundreds of anti-Israel protesters descended on Downing Street in Central London outside his official state residence to hold a “vigil” for those killed in an explosion at a hospital in Gaza.
An “emergency protest” was organised on Whitehall by the Stop the War Coalition to oppose Israel and pray for the people who died at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday evening, as Breitbart News reported.
Sunak will hold a meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog before setting off to other regional capitals in a diplomatic bid to prevent fighting from spiralling.
Sky News reports Downing Street did not specify exactly where the prime minister would go after Israel, but said he would be meeting counterparts “from across the Middle East.”
In his meetings he will press for the route into Gaza to be open for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the exit of those trapped in the territory, while expressing his condolences for victims on both side of the war, the Sky News report sets out.
His departure came as President Biden said Egypt’s President Sisi had agreed to open the Rafah crossing to allow 20 trucks of aid into Gaza.
Ahead of the trip, the British leader stated his warning for all parties to be cautious:
Every civilian death is a tragedy. And too many lives have been lost following Hamas’s horrific act of terror.
The attack on al Ahli hospital should be a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict. I will ensure the UK is at the forefront of this effort.
Sunak’s trip comes after U.S .President Joe Biden travelled to Tel Aviv on Tuesday where he sided with Netanyahu by stating the hospital strike appeared not to have been caused by Israel but “by the other team,” as Breitbart News reported.