Lord Cameron urges Israel to 'think with head as well as heart' and not retaliate to Iran

Lord David Cameron has urged Israel to "think with head as well as heart" and not retaliate to Iran's missile attack.

The foreign secretary said the nation needed to be "smart as well as tough" and think about the consequences of escalating violence in the region.

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He told Sky News: "I totally understand those in Israel who want to see more (action), but I think this is a time to think with head as well as heart and to be smart as well tough.

"And I think the smart thing to do is actually to recognise that Iran's attack was a failure and we want to keep the focus on that, on Iran's malign influence and actually pivot to looking at what's happening in Gaza."

Iran launched over 300 drones and missiles in an assault that set off air raid sirens across Israel on Saturday night.

The attack was over by Sunday morning and Israel reopened its air space, having said it had intercepted along with its allies 99% of the projectiles launched towards its territory.

Lord Cameron echoed US President Joe Biden's comments that Israel should "take the win" - noting that there could have been "thousands of casualties" had the attack been successful.

He said the UK, which shot down some Iranian drones, would help again if Tehran launched another attack.

But he stressed: "We're trying to avoid escalation and the action we took alongside the Americans and others clearly has helped to stop that escalation because the Iran attack was an almost total failure."

The plea for de-escalation comes after Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said the country would "collect a price" for Iran's action.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will address the developments in the Middle East in the Commons later today, with the UK "absolutely" considering further sanctions on Iran, Lord Cameron told BBC Breakfast in a later interview on Monday morning.

Israel 'listening carefully to allies'

A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in London said Israel is "not in the business of revenge" but wants to ensure Iran is "deterred" from launching further attacks.

Orly Goldschmidt told Sky News: "We are listening very carefully to our allies, we're taking what they're saying into consideration but, at the end of the day, we will have to defend ourselves against this Iranian threat."

Ms Goldschmidt said she would not comment on what Israel's response may look like or when it might take place.

Asked if he thinks Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sound judgement, Lord Cameron said the pair have had "many arguments and disagreements, but it's our job to work with the Israeli government".

He went on to insist that there was a "massive degree of difference" between Israel's strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month and Saturday's retaliatory attack by Iran.

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Asked whether Israel showed good judgment by hitting Iran's consulate in Damascus, he said: "That's something the Israelis decided to do.

"I can completely understand the frustration Israelis feel when they look at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and they look at the terrible things that they have done all over the world, including the support they give to Hamas."

He added: "I would argue there is a massive degree of difference between what Israel did in Damascus and, as I said, 301 weapons being launched by the state of Iran at the state of Israel.

"For the first time a state-on-state attack, 101 ballistic missiles, 36 cruise missiles, 185 drones, that is a degree of difference and I think a reckless and dangerous thing for Iran to have done.

"And I think the whole world can see, all these countries that have somehow wondered, well, you know, what is the true nature of Iran? It's there in black and white."