Man on holiday in Israel says Government ‘dithering’ in helping Britons leave

An English tourist who was holidaying in Israel when Hamas attacked the country said the British government is “dithering” in assisting UK citizens trying to escape the conflict.

Aaron Barwell, 48, told the PA news agency he has been struggling to leave Israel as flights out of the country were cancelled and he was turned away at the Jordanian border.

Mr Barwell, a freelancer working in IT, claimed the British government has “been more concerned with political posturing than the actual safety of their citizens”.

He said: “I just want to leave the country as soon as possible.”

Wizz Air and Virgin Atlantic have cancelled flights to and from Tel Aviv as a result of the ongoing conflict, while British Airways has also made changes to its flight schedule.

Mr Barwell, who lives near Newcastle, said he was travelling to Jordan from Israel when Hamas attacked and he was forced to return to Jerusalem.

He said he has since booked a flight to Cyprus for Wednesday evening while he stays in Jerusalem’s Old City.

He said: “I couldn’t get a flight to the UK…I’ve got a ticket just to Cyprus just to get out of the country because everything seems to be sold out or cancelled.”

Mr Barwell said the British government was “not doing enough” to help UK nationals in Israel and has “been dithering so I think it’s creating a situation which is putting us more at risk”.

He said: “The official advice on the British Embassy website is just to follow basically what the Israeli authorities said.

“In other words, it is absolutely useless because we’re not getting any direction from anybody.

“The only thing I’ve seen, and I’ve only seen it online, is that they’re assessing the situation which they’ve been doing for days when other countries are actually doing something.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

It is advising Britons in these areas to register their presence with the office to receive updates.

PA has contacted the Foreign Office for a response.

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