The new foreign secretary, David Cameron, has previously characterized Gaza as “a prison camp” and criticized Israel’s “illegal” settlements in Palestinian territory. During a visit to Turkey in 2010, the former Conservative prime minister emphasized the need to prevent Gaza from remaining a prison camp. Rishi Sunak’s surprising appointment of Cameron, who left No 10 seven years ago after losing the Brexit referendum, is a remarkable political comeback.
Cameron’s return to the Foreign Office coincides with Sunak’s efforts to avoid a significant defeat in the upcoming general election. However, Cameron’s past comments about Gaza being a “prison camp” could be contentious, especially amid the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.
While the UK government has strongly supported Israel’s right to defend itself, Cameron has called for humanitarian pauses in the conflict to allow aid but has not explicitly called for a full ceasefire. In 2010, during his visit to Turkey, Cameron criticized Tel Aviv and urged Israel to relax its restrictions on Gaza, drawing condemnation from the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Cameron has identified himself as a “strong friend of Israel” but, while still prime minister in 2016, emphasized not supporting illegal settlements and expressed concern about events in East Jerusalem. Former foreign secretary James Cleverly has been appointed home secretary following the dismissal of Suella Braverman by Sunak over her unauthorized op-ed accusing the police of bias in handling pro-Palestinian protests.