British PM To Visit Israel To Mark 75th Anniversary
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intends to visit Israel this year to mark the country’s 75th birthday.
Sunak spoke on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked him for London’s recent vote against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”
Netanyahu also commended Britain’s intention to declare Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, stressing the importance Jerusalem ascribes to advancing the issue.
The European Parliament on Wednesday voted 598-9 in favor of requesting that the E.U. list the IRGC as a terror entity.
Finally, Netanyahu and Sunak discussed ways to enhance and expand bilateral cooperation in various fields, as well as global security challenges, especially Iran and the war in Ukraine.
Specifically, the call focused on global challenges, chief among them the threats posed by Iran and the war in Ukraine, according to the statement.
Sunak and Netanyahu discussed strengthening ties between the UK and Israel in their first call since Mr Netanyahu’s comeback as Israel’s prime minister.
Mr Netanyahu was sworn in as leader of the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in Israel’s history three weeks ago.
Netanyahu expresses his satisfaction with the UK’s intention to declare the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror group according to The Times of Israel.
In December, Sunak told a packed Conservative Friends of Israel reception that Israel was at the forefront of “remarkable achievements” in technology, which he said are “something which Israel’s detractors in the BDS movement would do away with.
In that month, Sunak confirmed the UK’s intention to vote against the Palestinian bid during his speech at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual business lunch. He made his pledge under the pretext of not intending to harm the peace process and the two-state solution. This is being seen as an excuse rather than a reason, given that the peace process has been moribund for almost a decade, and Israel’s continued expansion of its illegal settlements on land earmarked for a Palestinian state make the two-state solution increasingly unlikely.
“We do not beg justice from oppressors,” responded Khaled Al-Batch, a member of the Political Bureau of Islamic Jihad in Palestine. “We will resist the occupation.”
“I will fight very hard for the security of the Jewish state,” he said at the time.
“But it has also never been more important. It is a friendship which makes all of our systems healthier.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K. Tzipi Hotovely hailed Sunak for his “deep commitment” to the Jewish state.
Sunak became prime minister in October, just days after fellow Conservative Party member Liz Truss resigned from the position and after securing the Tory leadership. Sunak was sworn in by King Charles, becoming Britain’s first-ever prime minister of Asian heritage, and the youngest premier in more than 200 years.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.
(Additional reporting provided by Alberto Arellano)