Sunak urges Netanyahu to keep ‘calm heads’ in Israeli response to Iran attack

Rishi Sunak has told Benjamin Netanyahu it is “a moment for calm heads to prevail” in Israel’s response to Iran’s missile and drone attack.

The Prime Minister spoke to his counterpart on Tuesday afternoon after first telling MPs 24 hours earlier that he would speak to Mr Netanyahu “shortly”.

Israeli media had reported that Mr Netanyahu was refusing to take calls from world leaders seeking to influence the response to Saturday night’s attack.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the UK for its rapid and robust support in the face of Iran’s reckless and dangerous attack on Saturday,” they added.

“The Prime Minister said Iran had badly miscalculated and was increasingly isolated on the global stage, with the G7 co-ordinating a diplomatic response. He stressed that significant escalation was in no one’s interest and would only deepen insecurity in the Middle East. This was a moment for calm heads to prevail.”

Mr Sunak also told the Israeli prime minister “he remained gravely concerned about the deepening humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

“The UK wanted to see a massive step change in aid access to flood Gaza with vital supplies, including Israel opening up new aid routes as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said.

“The Prime Minister said it was deeply disappointing that Hamas blocked a deal at the weekend that would have saved Palestinian lives and secured the safe release of hostages.”

Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo/AP)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “He has obviously been in discussions with his war cabinet.

“The Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have been speaking to their counterparts.”

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, who is reportedly set to visit Israel soon, has urged Tel Aviv to be “smart as well as tough” by not escalating the conflict with Iran.

The UK joined allies in defending Israel when Iran launched about 350 drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday, with British jets shooting down a number of drones.

The onslaught followed Israel’s targeting of an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month.

Mr Sunak has come under pressure from senior Tories and the Israeli government to ban Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation in the wake of the attack.

The IRGC wields significant influence over Iran’s politics and has been blamed for destabilising the Middle East through its support for groups including Hamas and Hezbollah targeting Israel and the Houthis in Yemen who have attacked Red Sea shipping.

But Home Office minister Laura Farris said to proscribe the group could jeopardise the UK’s ability to engage with Tehran.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –