Under enhanced security, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein spoke at the UK Parliament on Wednesday before 40 MPs and dozens of guests. In his speech, Edelstein thanked the British legislature for inviting him to speak despite protests by anti-Israel organizations.
In his speech, the Knesset Speaker addressed the Palestinian issue and admitted that peace does not appear to be on the horizon, and that in the current situation only cooperation between people, such as joint industrial zones, can advance peace.
(Edelstein at UK Parliament library examining documents declaring end of British Mandate and recognition of Israel)
Edelstein also addressed the slogans that were projected late Tuesday night by anti-Israel activists on a wall of the Palace of Westminster, which houses the UK Parliament. ”Apparently, the BDS movement is good at screening images, but they are very bad at helping the Palestinians,” he said. Members of the movement, Edelstein argued, are actually the real enemies of the Palestinians. ”Because of such groups, factories are being transferred to the Negev,” he told the British MPs. ”Some 800 Palestinian families are out of work today because a factory was forced to move its operations to the Negev.”
As for the construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria, Edelstein said ”My friends and neighbors say to me every day: `The construction freeze is killing us. No houses are being built. The children beg but they cannot live near us.`”
Turning his attention to the terror wave in Israel, the Knesset Speaker slammed the Palestinian incitement on television and the social networks. ”A 13-year-old boy watches a clip on how to murder Jews, goes to the kitchen, grabs a knife and goes out to murder Jews. This is shocking, and we must act against the incitement in every possible way.”
Earlier Wednesday, Edelstein and MKs Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp), Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Revital Swid (Zionist Camp) met with House of Commons Speaker MP John Simon Bercow.
In response to Bercow`s question regarding Iran, Edelstein argued that it will be very difficult to supervise the implementation of the nuclear deal between the world powers and Tehran. The Knesset Speaker noted the conventional threat posed by Iran, ”which is based on terror funds that [are flowing into Iran] as a result of the resumption of ties with the world after the sanctions have been lifted.”
(Bercow, left, and Edelstein)
Addressing the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Edelstein said even the optimists in Israel are aware of the difficulty involved in resuming the peace talks. ”The Palestinians are continuing with their unilateral measures to receive international recognition, and they do not feel a need to sit with us at the negotiating table,” he said.
On Tuesday the Knesset members met with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and they are scheduled to hold additional meetings 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.