image Photo: Flash90, Koby Gideon (GPO)

UK to push Two-State solution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Jerusalem yesterday.

At the start of the meeting, the Israeli leader told Secretary Raab, “It’s good to see you again in better times and we’ll work together to make them even better. Thank you and Prime Minister Johnson, Boris, for the staunch, unwavering support of our right to self-defense during the recent operation. It’s much appreciated.”

London’s top diplomat responded, “I’m here as a friend as you know that’s a great supporter of Israel, and we’re looking forward to talking about the bilateral relationship but also how we move things forward elsewhere. You can always count on us.”

Going on to underscore that his mission highlights the friendship between the United Kingdom (UK)  and Israel, Raab said he also hopes to promote a political track to end the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“I’m here because we are a strong friend of Israel, but we’re also – feel very strongly that we want to see peaceful Two-State solution. We’ve got the ceasefire (to the recent Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict between Gaza and Israel),” he said, adding, “The question is now how we can build on that, bed that in, avoid any further escalations and try to find a track towards a Two-State solution which is the only durable way that Palestinians and Israelis will find peace.”

After stating unequivocally that “Hamas is a terrorist organization” and reiterating that “We affirm Israel’s right to self-defense of course,” Raab went on to say that, “at the same time, we need to try and create the conditions so that Palestinians can enjoy better standard of life. We can get humanitarian aid in. We’ve already provided an emergency package of £ 3 million pounds (equivalent to about $4,247,205 USD) to provide humanitarian relief. We need to get that to where it’s needed – Palestinian civilians in Gaza, on the West Bank, and I think raising the standards of living, providing at least some stability for Palestinians is the best way to marginalize extremists and find a track towards that Two-State solution.”

The British top diplomat also held talks in Jerusalem with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

According to a statement from the Defense Ministry obtained by TV7, Gantz briefed Raab on plans “to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and shift policy toward Gaza, to the end of achieving long-term quiet and the return of Israeli hostages and MIAs.”

Minister Gantz further “pointed to the critical importance of close and effective supervision mechanisms in any nuclear deal with Iran, stating that Israel will continue to assert its right and duty to protect itself from any threat,” according to the statement.

Gantz was accompanied by Security Cabinet member, Tourism Minister Orit Farkash HaCohen, Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee member and Member of Knesset Yael Ron Ben-Moshe.

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely also participated in Raab’s meetings with Defense Minister Gantz, as well as with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

After his meetings in the Israeli capital, the British Foreign Secretary Raab travelled to the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during which he also conveyed his nation’s continuing commitment for a Two-State solution as “the best way to deliver a lasting peace.”