Documents seen exclusively by British website The Commentator and exposed on Tuesday have revealed disturbing attitudes towards Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by the British Government.
The documents, which the site said were marked “RESTRICTED” by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have placed fresh doubts over whether Britain is as firm an ally of Israel’s as Prime Minister David Cameron has previously suggested.
During Netanyahu’s visit to Britain last year, Cameron said that “Britain is a good friend of Israel and our support for Israel and Israel's security is something I have described in the past, and will do so again, as unshakeable. We are strong friends of Israel.”
The Commentator noted that the documents it saw and exposed were redacted, but staff who compiled responses to freedom of information requests, had seemingly failed to properly secure the information before it was released.
One document, called “Research Paper FINAL”, says that “Netanyahu has a history of using the incitement issue as a delaying tactic in peace talks” and, “The history of this issue suggests that Netanyahu administrations have a tendency to charge the PA/PLO with incitement as a delaying tactic in peace talks.”
The Commentator also cited a redacted document which states that Netanyahu is a “strong opponent of the Oslo Accords” despite his public support for a two-state solution.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told The Commentator in response that “The Foreign Secretary has consistently set out the UK’s position on the Middle East Peace Process, including the urgent need for progress and the UK’s unswerving support for a lasting two state solution.”
A government source told the website, “The views of a junior official should not be conflated with the clear positions that the Foreign Secretary has set out repeatedly in Parliament.”
However, the website notes, critics of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will likely seize upon this as evidence that incitement by the Palestinian Authority is willfully ignored by British authorities and will argue that the Foreign Office does not always act as an ally of the State of Israel.
Phillip Hollobone, a Member of Parliament for Kettering, told The Commentator, “There is a growing body of well documented evidence that official Palestinian organizations – some funded by the UK, the EU and the UN – are promoting terrorism and martyrdom in an attempt to aid the Palestinian cause, and yet the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and DfID appear surprisingly slow to explore this evidence and condemn its perpetrators. Now we know why.”
Hollobone added, “Whilst Britain has always appeared – officially at least - to see both sides of the complex conflict between Israeli and Arab, it would now appear that some British government officials are seeking to inject an unfair pro-Palestinian bias into official UK Government briefing documents.”
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of Britain, recently called Israeli settlements “deliberate vandalism” at a press conference with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
His condemnation of Israel, one of the harshest ever from a senior British official, was welcomed by Abbas, who said it was exactly "what we had waited to hear officially."
Britain, like the United States and almost every other Western country, does not recognize a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and in areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority. Clegg’s use of the term “vandalism” represented a sharp escalation and undiplomatic language towards Israel.
He accused Israel of undermining the “peace process” by not agreeing with Abbas’ demands to halt building new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria.