UK official resigns over secret meetings in Israel, sought to aid Syrians via IDF


( The U.K.’s International Development Secretary Priti Patel was forced to resign Wednesday after it was revealed that she conducted several unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials during a private trip to Israel in August. 

Former U.K. International Development Secretary Priti Patel. Credit: U.K. Department for International Development.

Patel met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 11 other Israeli officials without informing the U.K.’s Foreign Office or British Prime Minister Theresa May in advance. She was summoned for a meeting with May on Wednesday to explain the purpose of her talks with the Israeli officials. 

During her meetings with the Israelis, Patel discussed the possibility of channeling British medical aid to Syrian civilians through the IDF.   

“I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened and offer my resignation,” Patel wrote in a letter to May. “While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated.”

May accepted Patel’s resignation and wrote a letter in response stating that “the U.K. and Israel are close allies, and it is right that we should work closely together. But that must be done formally.”

In July, the IDF revealed the full details of a previously secretive humanitarian aid operation, dubbed “Operation Good Neighbor,” to treat Syrians who arrive at the Israeli border asking for help. The effort began several years ago and evolved into an expanded humanitarian program that has provided medical treatment to more than 4,000 Syrians, including hundreds of children.

Posted on November 9, 2017 .