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Following the October 7 terrorist attack, the British government pledged unwavering support for Israel when it went to war in Gaza. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel a few days after the attack, bringing weapons and military equipment for the IDF in a transport plane. He declared “unlimited support for Israel in the face of evil.” However, six months later, British promises have dwindled, with threats of imposing an arms embargo on Israel if it invades Rafah.

The shift in the British position is attributed to criticism of Israel for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, especially following a surprise visit by Sunak to press the issue during a meeting with Minister Benny Gantz in London. The change became evident during a vote in the UN Security Council, where the British ambassador supported a resolution for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza without condemning Hamas for the atrocities of October 7.

The change in the British stance towards Israel is also influenced by a shift in leadership within the Foreign Ministry. Boris Johnson, known for his pro-Israeli views, was replaced as Prime Minister by David Cameron, who has been vocal about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and has hinted at halting arms exports to Israel. This change of direction aligns with public sentiment in Britain, which largely supports the Palestinian 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 violate international law and could lead to cancellation of arms export licenses to Israel. This new approach towards Israel signals a departure from past policies and reflects changing attitudes towards conflict resolution efforts

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