Britain's insane policy of opposition to visiting sites where Israel is engaged in humanitarian efforts

Priti Patel is expected to become the second minister to be forced to leave the cabinet in less than a week after fresh claims emerged this morning that she visited an Israeli field hospital on the Golan Heights, breaching British government protocol because Israeli sovereignty over the area is not recognised.

Senior Israeli defence sources acknowledged that Ms Patel, the international development secretary, had visited the site, although she did not disclose the engagement in a list of meetings released after news of her trip first emerged. It is the latest in a series of allegations over secret discussions with Israeli officials. Whitehall sources said today that Ms Patel is cutting short a visit to Uganda and returning to the UK.

During her stay in Israel in the summer, in which Ms Patel met senior politicians including Binjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, without notifying British diplomats, it is alleged that she travelled to the disputed territory to tour an Israeli army facility which was set up in 2013 and has treated thousands of Syrians, mostly wounded rebel combatants including al-Qaeda militants. The initiative is part of Israel’s “good neighbourhood” policy to create a bulwark against Iranian-backed forces in Syria.

Government procedure is that ministers and senior officials do not visit the Golan and other territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War (the West Bank and East Jerusalem) accompanied by Israeli officials.

Following her trip, Ms Patel recommended that the British government help fund the Israeli army’s medical humanitarian effort.

The claims will increase the intense criticism she has been receiving as Britain has made a point in the past of not being involved in Israeli military operations on the Golan. In 2008, the Israeli defence contractor Elbit, which is building the Watchkeeper WK450 drones used by Britain’s Royal Artillery, was asked to relocate test-flights from its airfield on the Golan to an alternative field within Israel’s sovereign territory. For a cabinet minister to visit the Israeli army in occupied territory would be unheard of and will give rise to more calls for Ms Patel’s resignation.

Last night the prime minister was preparing to speak to Ms Patel amid growing signs that she would be sacked after her attempt to cover up the full extent of her meetings with senior Israeli officials in August.
This policy appears to be based on a pander to Muslims who oppose Israel's defensive effort to avoid extermination by its enemies.  In this case, it is really absurd, because the Golan effort the minister visited was engaged in a humanitarian effort to aid victims of the Syrian civil war. 

I suspect the basis for the is to put pressure on Israel to agree to a bad deal with Palestinians who lost a genocidal effort to kick the Jews out of the Jewish homeland.  Except, in this case, the Golan was once occupied by the Syrians who are now engaged in a genocidal civil war against their own people. 

This looks like an irrational act in support of an irrational policy.


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