Labour Friends go to Israel

By Marcus Dysch, October 19, 2011

Labour Friends of Israel has led its first delegation to the country for two years, with seven MPs meeting political and business leaders.

The week-long tour included a trip to Ramallah and visits to Israel's northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.

On the delegation were MPs Anne McGuire, Rachel Reeves, Jonathan Reynolds, Dan Jarvis, Michael McCann and Pamela Nash. New LFI chairman John Woodcock MP led the visit.

Ms Reeves was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet earlier this month; Mr Reynolds and Mr Jarvis were promoted to the front bench.

During their stay they travelled to communities in southern Israel which have been targeted by Hamas rocket attacks, and toured Yad Vashem.

They met Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, PA minister Ghassan Al Khateeb, visited the West Bank security barrier and a new Palestinian city being built near Ramallah.

British ambassador Matthew Gould hosted a meeting with the delegation, who were also introduced to Israeli schoolchildren, journalists and NGOs.

The group also planted trees in memory of former LFI chair David Cairns, who died in May.

Jennifer Gerber, LFI director, said: "The visit reaffirmed how important it is for Labour MPs to visit Israel, to gain an understanding of her political and security concerns, and support the Israeli people in their efforts for peace."

Last updated: 12:00pm, October 19 2011