Israel will work together with the international community to weaken Hamas, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in a meeting with U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominc Raab on Wednesday.
“This is an Israeli, Palestinian, regional and international interest that will strengthen stability in the Middle East and reduce the threat on residents of Israel,” Ashkenazi said.
Raab arrived on Tuesday night for a one-day visit to discuss the truce between Israel and Hamas, reached last week after 11 days of fighting.
Ashkenazi thanked Raab for Britain’s support of Israel throughout Operation Guardian of the Walls and condemnation of Hamas’s rocket fire against Israeli civilians, use of civilian targets for military operations, and exploitation of the local civilian population.
Ashkenazi told his counterpart that weakening Hamas is an Israeli, Palestinian, regional and international interest, and called on Britain to designate Hamas a terrorist organization as part of the effort to prevent the strengthening and financing of this organization. Ashkenazi also asked his British counterpart to work towards the release of the captives and missing persons being held by the terrorist organization.
Ashkenazi and Raab also discussed the threat that Iran and its proxies pose to the Middle East, and the importance of stopping the Ayatollah regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.
They also discussed the promotion of bilateral relations between the two countries, particularly commercial ties and cooperation on coronavirus. Britain is Israel’s biggest trading partner in Europe, and there is a mutual desire to consolidate an updated trade agreement that will allow the full potential of cooperation between the two countries to be reached.
Israel and Britain share information and statistics on the fight against coronavirus and hold discussions with the goal of reaching a mutual agreement on vaccine recognition.
The visit of the British Foreign Secretary is the sixth solidarity visit by a foreign minister to Israel since the beginning of Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Next week, the foreign ministers of Hungary and Portugal – which also currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union – are expected to visit Israel.