Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has started on a trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. He will use his week-long trip to discuss security in the region and how to most effectively tackle extremism.
Javid said in a statement:
“It was an honour to meet our friends in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to discuss our continued commitment to security and the pursuit of peace.
The importance of the political progress needed to unlock a just and lasting peace is inescapable in the Old City of Jerusalem. With sites sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews, all believers need to be able to practise their faith freely, peacefully and without fear.
As Home Secretary, I’m committed to working with friends at home and abroad to tackle all forms of religious hatred – including antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, and the persecution of Christians.”
Speaking before a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, Javid added:
“Freedom of religion and belief is a non-negotiable right for all peoples, and the UK government is committed to tackling anti-Muslim hatred, antisemitism, the persecution of Christians and any other impediments to this right both in the UK and around the world.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has said that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, deserves “unequivocal condemnation” after it was confirmed that the Labour leader had attended a memorial service for the terrorists involved in the Munich Games massacre.
Corbyn rejected the criticism and referring to the wreath laid in memory of the terrorists, “I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it”. He added on Twitter “what deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children”.
Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, posted on Twitter:
“Being “present” is the same as being involved. When I attend a memorial, my presence alone, whether I lay a wreath or not, demonstrates my association & support. There can also never be a “fitting memorial” for terrorists. Where is the apology?”
Alistair Burt, the Minister for the Middle East, has expressed concern following the death of over a dozen Palestinian protesters on the Israel/Gaza border. Israel has also rejected a request from the United Nations and the European Union for an inquiry to be held into the deaths.
Burt said in a statement:
“I am appalled by the deaths and injuries on the Israel/Gaza border on Friday (30 March). There is an urgent need to establish the facts, including why such a volume of live fire was used and what role Hamas played in the violence. But the most important thing is to ensure that there is no repeat of what happened, with all sides committing to peaceful protest, restraint and international law.
This issue cannot just be managed over time. We need a political process to deliver a two-state solution; urgent action to improve the economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including easing of restrictions by Israel and Egypt; and Palestinian reconciliation based on full adherence to the Quartet principles by Hamas”.
Alistair Burt, the Minister for the Middle East, has issued a statement on the sentencing of Ahed Tamimi who has been imprisoned for eight months. Tamimi is a Palestinian teenager who slapped an Israeli soldier who has accepted the prison sentence as part of a plea deal.
“The conviction and sentencing of Ahed Tamimi is emblematic of how the unresolved conflict is blighting the lives of a new generation, who should be growing up together in peace, but continue to be divided.
The treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention remains a human rights priority for the UK. We will continue to call upon Israel to improve its practices in line with international law and obligations.
We have offered to help the Israeli authorities through expert-to-expert talks with UK officials. The offer still stands and we hope Israel will take us up on it. While we recognise that Israel has made some improvements, it needs to do much more to safeguard vulnerable people in its care”.
Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has said that he is concerned at the Israeli Government’s decision with regards to a planned settlement. The Israeli Cabinet agreed the housing project earlier this week in defiance of international concern.
In a statement he said:
“The UK strongly condemns the Israeli government’s decision to ‘legalise’ the Netiv Ha’avot outpost in the West Bank. The international community has repeatedly stated that settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the physical viability of the two-state solution”.
Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, has resigned following a meeting with Theresa May, the Prime Minister. Patel had been called back to Downing Street from a trip to Africa following a series of allegations that she had broken the Ministerial code during a summer trip to Israel.
Patel had admitted that during a holiday to Israel she had met key figures in the country without the clearance of the Foreign Secretary and without having civil servants at the meetings.
Kate Osamor, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, has called on Priti Patel to face an investigation over breaches of the Ministerial Code. Patel had apologised and Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has said that she considers the matter closed.
Osamor said in a statement:
“It is hard to think of a more black and white case of breaking the ministerial code. It is time the secretary of state either faces a Cabinet Office investigation or does the decent thing and just resigns”.
Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said in a statement:
“Priti Patel also had meetings with a number of charities and I find it utterly unsurprising that the international aid secretary would want to talk to charities while she’s on holiday in a particular area about whether or not we can use the British aid budget to diminish the humanitarian problems there”.
Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, has admitted that she failed to disclose meetings with Israeli politicians whilst on a family holiday. Patel also admitted that Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, had not been told in advance about her plans.
Patel said in a statement:
“This summer I travelled to Israel, on a family holiday paid for myself. While away I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organisations. I am publishing a list of who I met. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of my visit while it was underway.
In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be mis-read, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures. I am sorry for this and I apologise for it”.
The Labour Party has called on the Prime Minister to launch an investigation into Patel’s actions.
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has criticised the Israeli Government for its advancement on the West Bank. The European Union has also criticised the Israeli policy of building homes in the area and added that it risked the future of the peace process.
In a statement Johnson said:
“The UK strongly condemns the advancement by the Israeli authorities of plans, tenders and permits for thousands of settlement units across the West Bank.
We are particularly concerned by the approval of settlement construction permits in Hebron for the first time in 15 years. Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine both the physical viability of the two-state solution and perceptions of Israel’s commitment to it”.
The Israeli Government has issued a full apology after a secret recording was made of Shai Masot, an Israeli working at the embassy in London. Masot said that it was Israel’s intention to “bring down” Alan Duncan, a Foreign Office Minister.
The Israeli Embassy in London issued a statement saying:
“The Embassy of Israel rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable; the comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly”.
Masot also referred to Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, as “an idiot” , but the comments were rejected by Mark Regev, the Israeli Ambassador in London who had served as the Israeli Prime Minister’s official spokesman from 2007 until 2015.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that Regev had made a personal apology and added that “the UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed”.