What can Britain do for Israel?


By mattpryor
September 21, 2010
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As the 10-month deadline approaches there is talk of Prime Minister Netanyahu agreeing to a continuation of the moratorium on building projects beyond the 1947 armistice lines, in exchange for the US release of Stephen Pollard.

http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=188647

This got me thinking. Assuming that an extension of the freeze is politically possible within Israel (I don't know if it is), it strikes me that the British FO is just as keen to see that happen as the US government. Clearly the mandarins in Whitehall are panicking about Abu Mazen using settlements as an excuse to ditch negotiations and are working themselves into a lather about the possible implications of a collapse in talks.

So I think it would not be unreasonable for Israel to request some concessions from Britain in exchange for this, and I thought it would be interesting / fun to try and think of a few. Who knows, maybe someone in high places may read it and get some ideas.

1) Upgrading of EU relations

In April 2009 the EU suspended the process of upgrading Israel's relationship with the EU, citing the government's unwillingness to resume negotiations based on where Olmert left off - the real reason, I suspect, was that the EU saw it as politically unpalatable in the wake of Cast Lead. Britain should lobby for this process should be resumed forthwith.

2) Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city

Britain has never recognised Jerusalem as the administrative capital of Israel and all of Britain's diplomatic offices are in Tel Aviv. Another minor concession but a huge gesture of goodwill from the UK.

3) A State Visit by the Queen

In Israel's 62 year history, Her Majesty has never once visited Israel. Considering that she has been sent to Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria... (etc.. full list here) it seems a peculiar form of disrespect that she has never once set foot in Israel.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 17:30

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None of these things. They should all happen anyway without the need for Israel to 'buy' them with concessions.


mattpryor

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 17:36

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Well yes I agree.

But we know that the UK foreign office is more interested in trade and domestic energy security (i.e. flattering Arab states and kicking Israel) than justice or fair play.

Seems like an excellent opportunity to redress a few things so I just thought I'd float the idea.


telegramsam

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 17:56

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-1 points

What British Jews can do is join the new Jstreet initiative here.


Joshua18

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 18:09

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First of all, I think Matt Pryor should be given a knighthood (Order of the Mensch). Secondly, Britain should agree to take in one million Palestinian refugees.


mattpryor

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 18:18

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Fine, but they can't all stay at my house... and if they start firing rockets at me or demanding independence they go home. Okay?


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 18:53

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Off topic, Spam

He asked what the UK can do, not what British Jews can do


amber

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 19:03

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It's true, you have been excellent on these blogs Matt.


Joshua18

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 19:08

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"Fine, but they can't all stay at my house"

I was going to suggest that they bunk at Jenni Frazer's house for a couple of nights: "Welcome, welcome, would you all like a little chopped fish and a cup of tea?" I think she'd make the perfect host for one million Palestinians.


Joshua18

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 19:12

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"He asked what the UK can do, not what British Jews can do"

Ask not what your country can do for Jews-ask what Jews can do for your country.

--- JFK via Adolf Hitler


telegramsam

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 20:37

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Ah, von Hoffman, how are you? Found that ujia person yet? Why don't you pop over and ask for dou....


telegramsam

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 20:38

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J18 must be related to c18.


Anonymous

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:12

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