New Foreign Secretary David Cameron will meet with Palestinian leaders as part of his first overseas trip to the Middle East.

Mr Cameron made a spectacular return to the cabinet last week, and was made Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton to take up his post. His first foreign trip in the role will continue on Friday, where he will meet with Palestinian leaders to focus on how the UK can help respond to the crisis in Gaza.

In his meetings, he is expected to discuss how the UK can help alleviate the crisis in Gaza after the announcement of a truce in the war in the Middle East. The former Prime Minister has held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog as it was confirmed a four-day ceasefire will begin on Friday morning (November 24).

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“In Israel today, David Cameron met Israeli leaders and families of hostages," said the Foreign Office. "He offered his condolences for the Israelis killed by Hamas on October 7 and discussed efforts to free hostages in Gaza.

“Tomorrow, in meetings with Palestinian leaders and aid agencies, he will focus on how UK efforts can help alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are working towards a long-term political solution to this crisis.”

It was confirmed that the pause in fighting will start from 7am local time, with aid “going in as soon as possible”, according to Qatari officials. The first set of civilians held captive by Hamas are expected to be freed at about 4pm on Friday local time, including 13 women and children.

The agreement for a ceasefire in Gaza appeared to have hit a last-minute snag, with Lord Cameron telling Mr Netanyahu that he wanted all parties to the agreement to “make it happen”. There are hopes that the lull in the fighting will clear the way for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza to ease the suffering of citizens who have been bombarded and besieged by Israel as it takes on Hamas in response to the October 7 atrocities.

Lord Cameron, who earlier visited Kibbutz Be’eri – scene of some of the worst violence during the Hamas assault, said: “There is never any excuse for this sort of hostage-taking. All the hostages should be released, but I hope that everyone who is responsible and behind this agreement can make it happen, to bring relief to those families, including, of course, there are British nationals who have been taken hostage.”

Mr Netanyahu promised to “continue with the goals of the war and we will eradicate Hamas”.

“There is no hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab countries if we do not eradicate this murderous movement, which threatens the future of all of us,” he told the Foreign Secretary. Meeting Mr Herzog, the ex-PM said it was “very good” to be back in Israel.

He added: “There’s a huge amount of trauma in Israel because of the taking of 244 hostages. I’m not sure anyone can fully understand and share that trauma, but I remember the worst days of being Prime Minister was when British hostages were taken in Syria, and so many of them lost their lives in the most gruesome, terrible fashion. I remember the effect that had on me as prime minister and thinking about that and so perhaps know a tiny bit of what your nation is going through.”

Lord Cameron’s visit comes a day after he met counterparts from Arab and Islamic countries – including the Palestinian Authority – at Lancaster House in London to discuss the Middle East crisis. Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia and Nigeria, as well as the secretary general of the League of Arab States, and the ambassador of Qatar, attended the event.

Lord Cameron said the group discussed how to use the planned pause in the Israel-Hamas fighting to consider “how we can build a peaceful future which provides security for Israel but also peace and stability for the Palestinian people”.