In U.K., May Voices Concerns About Gaza Deaths, Netanyahu Says Israel Working to Minimize Palestinian Casualties

Israeli PM in London as part of trip dedicated to discussing Iran with various European leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau and his British counterpart, Theresa May, meet on June 6, 2018.
\ TOBY MELVILLE/ REUTERS

LONDON  — Downing Street is concerned about the deaths of protesters in Gaza, British Prime Minister Theresa May told Benjamin Netanyahu as they met in London on Wednesday afternoon.

“We have been concerned about the loss of Palestinian lives,” May told the prime minister. 

Netanyahu told May that Gaza's problems stemmed from Hamas' desire to destroy Israel. “We are not witnessing peaceful protests,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to both minimize casualties and at the same time protect Israeli lives.”

Ahead of the meeting, protesters opposing Netanyahu's visit held signs outside 10 Downing St. accusing Israel of massacring Palestinians.  

Demonstrators take part in a protest outside Downing Street, before the arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London, June 6, 2018.
Matt Dunham/AP

Netanyahu landed in London on Wednesday after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron a day earlier in Paris. 

Later, Netanyahu will also meet with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

At a joint press conference Tuesday, Macron said the two leaders discussed Iran’s growing influence in the region and the 2015 nuclear deal. Macron stressed the importance of the nuclear accord but said it should be complemented with an agreement that targets Tehran’s ballistic-missile program and activities in the region.

Netanyahu, for his part, said he did not ask Macron to withdraw from the nuclear deal. “I didn’t ask France to withdraw from JCPOA because I think it will be dissolved by weight of economic forces,” Netanyahu said.

Macron also criticized the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, saying it led to "people dying" and did not promote peace.