Itamar Ben Gvir
Itamar Ben GvirHaim Twito

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has told MPs that the UK has not engaged with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and has "no current plans to do so", the Jewish Chronicle reported on Friday.

According to the report, in a letter to MPs published on Thursday by the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Cleverly wrote, “The UK government has not engaged Itamar Ben Gvir in his role as Minister of National Security, and we have no current plans to do so."

In the letter, the British minister criticized Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, writing that they are illegal under international law and "an obstacle to peace", but also said that the UK rejects the "apartheid" descriptor of Israel.

Cleverly's comments came in a letter in response to MPs and Peers who wrote to him in December expressing "grave concern" about the incoming Netanyahu government and its "annexationist policies".

The letter called on the Foreign Secretary to warn Israel not to change the status quo on Temple Mount, to prevent the construction of new communities in Judea and Samaria and to stop trading with them, and to stop supplying weapons to Israel.

In his response, sent on February 13, Cleverly wrote that he understands their "frustration" at the "growing instability in the West Bank", writing, "We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians on the urgent need to refrain from taking any actions which make peace more difficult and to refrain from inflammatory language."

He then confirmed that the UK has no plans to engage with Ben Gvir, adding, "We call on all Israeli parties to refrain from inflammatory language and demonstrate tolerance and respect for minority groups."

The Jewish Chronicle noted that the UK's position on engaging with Ben Gvir goes further than that of the US.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides recently denied that the Biden administration would boycott Ben Gvir, but stressed his main contact in the new government in Israel would be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“My interface is with the Prime Minister,” Nides told Kan 11 News, adding, “The Prime Minister, as he has told all of us, has his hands very firmly on the wheel. That’s who we’re dealing with.”

“I’m not saying we’re not going to meet with people or going to meet with people. My interlocutor is the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office. He’s in charge of the government,” continued the Ambassador.

Despite Nides’ remarks, a delegation of Democratic senators who visited Israel in January sought to avoid meeting both Ben Gvir as well as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Even before the last Knesset election, officials from within the Biden administration, as well as Jewish organizations in the United States, expressed their concern at the possibility that Ben Gvir would be appointed a minister in the government.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)