John­son fo­cuses on trade and peace

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

FOR­EIGN SEC­RE­TARY Boris John­son reaf­firmed Bri­tain’s com­mit­ment to the two-state so­lu­tion and long­stand­ing op­po­si­tion to set­tle­ment build­ing dur­ing his visit to Jerusalem on Wed­nes­day.

At his meet­ing with Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, the Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter an­nounced that he would be vis­it­ing Lon­don a sec­ond time this year to com­mem­o­rate the cen­te­nary of the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion.

Mr John­son stressed that the cur­rent Bri­tish govern­ment are “firm sup­port­ers of Is­rael” and that the govern­ment’s pol­icy is still to sup­port a two-state so­lu­tion

“We would like to help bring that about in our small and mod­est way,” he said.

The only hint of dis­agree­ment between the two was when Mr John­son spoke of the need “to re­move ob­sta­cles (to peace) like the set­tle­ments”.

Mr Ne­tanyahu re­sponded: “It’s ev­i­dent that we agree on most things but not all things”.

In his view, the real ob­sta­cle to peace was “the per­sis­tent re­fusal to recog­nise a na­tion-state for the Jewish peo­ple in any bound­aries”.

This dis­agree­ment seemed to be sec­ondary to Mr John­son’s ev­i­dent en­thu­si­asm to dis­cuss Is­rael and Bri­tain’s fu­ture trade re­la­tions, prais­ing the in­crease of As­ton Martin deal­er­ships in Is­rael and, in an in­ter­view with TV sta­tion Chan­nel Ten, the growth in the sales of Scotch whisky.

The For­eign Sec­re­tary noted that Is­rael is also “a huge con­trib­u­tor to the UK econ­omy” and that in last month’s meet­ing with Theresa May in Lon­don, Mr Ne­tanyahu had agreed to set up a work­ing group on the fu­ture trade deal between Is­rael and Bri­tain. He said the UK was “build­ing a global iden­tity and leav­ing the EU”.

Mr John­son also spoke of his time as an 18-year-old work­ing on a kib­butz when he made his own “not very sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to the Is­raeli econ­omy”.

Dur­ing the one-day visit, Mr John­son also met lead­ers of op­po­si­tion par­ties, Isaac Her­zog and Tzipi Livni of Zion­ist Union and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, as well as re­ceiv­ing a brief­ing on set­tle­ment build­ing from Peace Now.

He also held talks with Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas in Ra­mal­lah.


Boris John­son with Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu in Jerusalem this week

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.