Foreign Secretary David Cameron has signalled a shift in the UK Government’s position on Israel-Hamas war, calling for a “sustainable ceasefire.”

In a joint column with Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, said “too many civilians have been killed.” 

Rishi Sunak has previously rejected calls for a ceasefire, instead supporting a “humanitarian pause” to allow for the release of Hamas-held hostages and for aid to enter Gaza.

Just last week, the UK abstained on a vote for a ceasefire at the UN General Assembly.

READ MORE: Sunak clashes with Flynn over Gaza ceasefire calls

Lord Cameron’s comments come as the White House has also expressed unease at the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration to reduce civilian casualties.

According to the Hamas run Health Ministry in Gaza, more than 18,700 Palestinians have been killed in the ten week war. Around 1.9 million Palestinians – nearly 85% of the enclave’s population – have been displaced.  

Writing in the Sunday Times, Lord Cameron and Ms Baerbock said: “Our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable.”

The two stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire.

“We know many in the region and beyond have been calling for an immediate ceasefire,” the article said. “We recognise what motivates these heartfelt calls.

“It is an understandable reaction to such intense suffering, and we share the view that this conflict cannot drag on and on. That is why we supported the recent humanitarian pauses.”

In a warning to Israel, the two foreign ministers said: “Israel has the right to defend itself but, in doing so, it must abide by international humanitarian law.

“Israel will not win this war if its operations destroy the prospect of peaceful co-existence with Palestinians. They have a right to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas.

“But too many civilians have been killed. The Israeli government should do more to discriminate sufficiently between terrorists and civilians, ensuring its campaign targets Hamas leaders and operatives.”

READ MORE: Scottish Budget: FM to escape revolt amid SNP 'high stakes'

The shift in language by the UK Government comes as Mr Netanyahu faces public anger in Israel after it emerged that the three hostages who were mistakenly shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip had been waving a white flag and were shirtless when they were killed.

In a nationwide address on Saturday, the Israeli primer minister said the killings “broke my heart, broke the entire nation’s heart,” but he indicated no change in the country’s military campaign.

“We are as committed as ever to continue until the end, until we dismantle Hamas, until we return all our hostages,” he said.

The SNP's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan O’Hara said Lord Cameron's shift was "welcome" but "not enough."

He said: “The conflict in Gaza has seen unimaginable destruction and loss of life on a horrific scale, with the revelation just last week that over 7,000 children have been killed.

“Throughout the SNP has remained steadfast in its calls for an immediate end to the destruction, on both sides, and while it is welcome that the UK government has moved towards our position - which is shared by most of the international community - this is not enough.

“Meanwhile Labour shamefully remains silent on this matter, displaying an astonishing lack of leadership for a party seeking to form the next government.

“In order to prevent the loss of more innocent lives we must all be unequivocal in our calls for an immediate ceasefire – nothing less.”

Appearing on Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips on Sky News, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “The question isn’t whether any of us want a ceasefire, of course people want to see a ceasefire, an end to this bloody conflict.”

“The question is how do you get from where we are today to where we want to be.

“I think David Cameron talked about a sustainable ceasefire and I think that’s absolutely right.”

Mr Streeting added: “I think we’ve just got to keep in mind a ceasefire comes about when both parties to the conflict are able to negotiate a ceasefire.

“We’ve got to build a political path to that point and then beyond.”