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Israel, Britain hold first national security dialogue

Netanyahu joined part of the meeting, which "reflects the deep friendship and strategic partnership between Israel and the U.K."

Israeli and British representatives conduct a strategic dialogue in Jerusalem, July 18, 2023. Credit: Courtesy.
Israeli and British representatives conduct a strategic dialogue in Jerusalem, July 18, 2023. Credit: Courtesy.

Israeli and British national security representatives met in Jerusalem on Monday for a first-ever strategic dialogue focusing on the Iranian threat, the Russia-Ukraine war and the Palestinian arena.

The teams were led by Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and his British counterpart Sir Tim Barrow.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined part of the meeting in order to welcome the British delegation. He commended the establishment of the initiative, which “reflects the deep friendship and strategic partnership between Israel and the U.K.,” according to an Israeli readout.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the two national security advisers agreed to hold regular talks moving forward.

Last week, Jewish groups said that the U.K. Foreign Office was declining to disclose how British development aid to the Palestinian Authority is audited as doing so would “not be in the public interest.”

The groups accused London of attempting to dodge a May 2023 freedom of information request that sought to make public audit reports related to the so-called “Palestinian Recovery and Development Program.”

Established in 2008 by the World Bank, the program seeks to combine donations from multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, to provide a persistent cash flow to the P.A. Notably, as pointed out by Palestinian Media Watch in 2019, funds are provided to the P.A. “untied and unearmarked.”

Accordingly, following the April 7 terrorist attack that killed three members of the British-Israeli Dee family, the groups demanded to know whether U.K. taxpayers are contributing to Ramallah’s “pay-for-slay” policy, under which it pays monthly stipends to terrorists and to the families of slain terrorists.

Meanwhile, Britain’s House of Commons earlier this month passed in its second reading a bill that would bar public bodies from boycotting foreign states that the U.K. government hasn’t sanctioned.

The bill specifically identifies “Israel” and what it calls “the occupied Palestinian territories” and “the occupied Golan Heights” as entities that British secretaries of state and the minister for the Cabinet Office cannot cite as exceptions.

The legislation now goes to a parliamentary committee, which will “scrutinize the bill line by line,” with a report expected by Sept. 14. If it passes a third reading in the full parliament, it will go to the House of Lords, which could propose amendments or delay the measure.

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