William Hague: Israel still listens to the UK


Britain still holds sufficient global influence to play an effective role in the Middle East peace process, former Foreign Secretary William Hague believes.

But he warned that the continued growth of settlements was turning world opinion against Israel and would be to the country’s disadvantage.

Conservative Party veteran Mr Hague, who will leave politics after May’s general election, dismissed the suggestion that Britain’s influence had waned.

He said Israeli leaders continued to listen to British counterparts but should also take greater note of international feelings.

“What we say to Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas is important. Israel does care, and should care. Opinion in Britain is one indicator of world opinion.

“People should be concerned in Israel about increased international criticism, particularly over settlements. That is really the very difficult issue for people all over the world,” he said.

Mr Hague spoke to the JC following a Jewish Care business breakfast at London’s Mansion House on Wednesday.

Jews played a significant role in the life of the country, and the Tories were committed to rejecting “any trace of antisemitism”, he said.

“The contribution of Jewish people to the economy and society is fantastic. Jewish Care is one of the most generous and effective organisations for care in the UK, and when you see the participation and support it gets, it’s something for everybody else to learn from.”

Mr Hague, Leader of the House of Commons, told charity supporters about the government’s efforts to combat dementia and other health issues Jewish Care addresses.

He regaled donors with a series of anecdotes from his time as Tory leader and at the Foreign Office.

Senior Tory treasurer Lord Leigh praised Mr Hague’s “steadfast support” for Israel, and said the Jewish community was proud of his “high moral stance over the last few years”.

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