Global pressure on Israel intensifies as UK backs Kamala Harris' demand for ceasefire in Gaza

ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports as the deadline for a pause in Gaza fighting, earmarked by the start of Ramadan, is fast-approaching

Global pressure on Israel is intensifying as Downing Street has said there is no difference between the UK and US positions on the Gaza war following Kamala Harris’s call for an immediate ceasefire.

Britain is “entirely aligned” with Washington in wishing to see a pause in the fighting as soon as possible, Number 10 said on Monday.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: "Our position is entirely aligned with the US who, like us, are calling for a pause in the fighting.

"We have been clear, as has the US, that the right conditions, however, must be in place for a permanent lasting ceasefire, and that includes the release of all hostages, Hamas no longer in charge in Gaza, and a bolstered Palestinian Authority."

The UK Government has long-resisted calls to back an immediate ceasefire and previously abstained on UN resolutions demanding one.

The American Vice President spoke on Sunday night after Israel allegedly did not show up for ceasefire talks with Hamas.

US VP Kamala Harris. Credit: AP

During an appearance in Selma, Alabama, on Sunday night, Harris said: “Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate cease-fire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table.

“This will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in.”

Harris continued: “This would allow us to build something more enduring to ensure Israel is secure and to respect the right of the Palestinian people to dignity, freedom and self-determination.”

Her comments come as she is set to host a member of Israel’s wartime cabinet who is visiting Washington in defiance of Netanyahu.

In her meeting with Benny Gantz, Harris plans to press for a temporary cease-fire deal that would allow for the release of several categories of hostages being held by Hamas.

Israel has essentially agreed to the deal, according to a senior Biden administration official, and the White House has emphasized that the onus is on Hamas to come on board.

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But on Sunday, a Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo for further talks on a ceasefire deal while Israel appeared to be absent from negotiations.

The upcoming talks were expected to be held with Israel and Hamas representatives communicating from separate rooms.

But an Israeli official said it was not sending a delegation to Egypt on the orders of Netanyahu,

It cited the reason as Hamas had failing to respond to two Israeli demands: a list of hostages specifying which are alive and which are dead; and confirmation of the ratio of Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli prisons in exchange for hostages.

Speaking to CNN, a Hamas source refused to confirm any details about the militant group’s positions or demands.

International mediators have been working for weeks to broker a deal to pause the fighting before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins.

Meanwhile, the US has begin a series of airdrops of aid into Gaza, just days after dozens of Palestinians were killed as they were trying to get food from an Israel-organized convoy.

The first drop on Saturday included about 38,000 meals into southwest Gaza, and White House officials have said those airdrops will continue to supplement truck deliveries, while they also work on sending aid via sea.

Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry says at least 30,410 people, including 21,000 children and women, have been killed in Gaza since then, with some 7,000 missing and 71,700 injured.

A growing number of children in Gaza are dying from dehydration and malnutrition, the health ministry said on Sunday.

A statement from UNICEF's Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, Adele Khodr, read: "Now, the child deaths we feared are here and are likely to rapidly increase unless the war ends and obstacles to humanitarian relief are immediately resolved."

"The lives of thousands (of) babies and children depend on urgent action being taken now."

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