3 Key Moments Where David Cameron Got Flustered When Pressed Over Israel-Gaza

The foreign secretary sidestepped plenty of questions from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday.
Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron speaking at the Foreign Affairs Committee
Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron speaking at the Foreign Affairs Committee
Parliament TV - PA Images via Getty Images

David Cameron sparked a strong reaction on social media yesterday when he repeatedly dodged three questions about the Israel-Gaza conflict in front of MPs.

The foreign secretary appeared before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday for the first time since he was re-appointed to government (despite no longer being an MP).

But, sitting as he sat next to the Foreign Office’s permanent under-secretary Philip Barton, Cameron seemed to struggle to answer several key queries about the divisive conflict in the Middle East.

One particular moment which was picked up repeatedly on X (formerly Twitter), was when Cameron was asked if whether the UK sees Gaza as occupied by Israel.

He said: “I don’t think Israel itself regards itself as an occupying force, but whether that is correct, I would want to take legal advice.”

The chair of the committee, Tory MP Alicia Kearns, pushed: “British law currently does consider Gaza to be an occupied territory. Can you confirm that on the record?”

“I don’t know the precise legal definition of that, I’d have to go back and check,” the foreign secretary said.

Kearns also repeatedly asked Cameron to clarify what legal advice he received about if Israel was in breach of international humanitarian law with its offensive in Gaza.

Cameron replied: “Look, the reason for not answering this question – I can’t remember every single bit of paper that was put in front of me.”

Cameron had a sticky moment with the SNP’s Brendan O’Hara, who noted that the former PM had already acknowledged Israel needed to “switch the water back on” for Palestinians in Gaza.

The MP noted: “Therefore isn’t turning water off – and having the ability to turn it back on but choosing not to – isn’t that a breach of international humanitarian law?”

Cameron dodged the response, before saying: “I’m not a lawyer. My view is they ought to switch it back on because in the north of Gaza, the conflict is effectively over there, so getting more water and power into northern Gaza would be a very good thing to do.

“You don’t have to be a lawyer to make a judgement about that.”

As social media filled up with clips of the foreign secretary’s performance, here’s a compilation of all the times Cameron struggled to answer the question at the Foreign Affairs Committee – a clip which has been viewed almost 100,000 times in less than 12 hours.

Kearns later told LBC that she thought the Israel-Gaza crisis might be “unfinished business” for Cameron.

“He clearly feels quite a lot of regret,” she said and noted there had been a shift in British policy towards Gaza since his return to cabinet in November.


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