Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein met in London Tuesday evening with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. MKs Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp), Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Revital Swid (Zionist Camp) also took part in the meeting, which was held at the British Foreign Office.
During the meeting, Edelstein and Hammond discussed, among other things, the Palestinian issue, the situation in Gaza, and Iran. The Knesset Speaker expressed his gratitude for Britain`s friendship, calling it one of Israel`s closest allies in Europe and the entire world. In this regard, he mentioned the UK`s opposition to boycotts against Israel. Those who call to ban goods that are produced in Judea and Samaria, Edelstein told Hammond, are actually hurting the Palestinians who work at Israeli factories.
Hammond addressed the settlement issue and argued that Israel was violating international law. In response, the Knesset Speaker said, ”11 years ago we left Gaza while evacuating thousands from their homes, and what we got was not peace, but terror.” The situation worsened as a result of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Edelstein asserted, adding that ”regretfully, monies that reach Gaza are invested in rockets and tunnels, not in providing welfare to the population.”
As for Iran, Edelstein said he does not trust a leader who for years has been calling for Israel`s annihilation. ”The denial of the Holocaust, as well as the cartoon exhibits organized by Iran which mock the Holocaust, have yet to be publicly condemned by anyone, despite my pleas. The big money that is flowing into Iran is worrying, because some of it may reach Hezbollah and Hamas, who will use it against Israel.”
Edelstein is an official visit to the UK as a guest of MP John Simon Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons. While in London, Edelstein is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, House of Lords Speaker Frances D`Souza and members of the UK Parliament`s Foreign Affairs Committee and the Defense Committee.