Friday, November 17The Voice of London

Explainer: What is the Golan Heights and why Priti Patel’s visit there has created such a fuss

Calls for the cabinet minister Priti Patel to step down are ‘drumming up’ today following reports by Israeli media which revealed 12 unauthorised meetings of the MP with Israeli politicians last August. Throughout her trip to Israel, one she described as a self-paid “family holiday”, the MP met with a number of Israeli politicians, including the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Furthermore, Ms Patel has reportedly visited an Israeli military hospital located in the Golan Heights, and thus breached the British Diplomacy Protocol that refuses to recognise Israel’s authority over the area, which has been occupied in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Allegedly, while Ms Patel visited the military field hospital in the Golan Heights, she declared plans to give UK aid money to the Israeli hospital, which is said to be facilitating both Israelis and Syrian refugees. It isn’t yet clear whether Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson were informed about Patel’s meetings and aid plans.

Patel’s visit to the Golan Heights has raised some questions over a possible shift in the UK Foreign policy, as well as doubts over Patel’s professionality as a diplomatic authority.

 

Credit: Adi Cohen

In response to the reports, MP Patel has published an apology: “In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures. I am sorry for this and I apologise for it.” Further in her statement, she claimed that her only aim is “to put the interests of British taxpayers and the world’s poor at the front of our development work.”

As to the Guardian report, it is speculated that PM Theresa May will sack MP Patel, who is currently the UK International Development Secretary. The parliamentary scandal will be a second this week, after the Defence Minister, Sir Michael Fallon, has resigned for “inappropriate behaviour”.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Want to learn more about who is Priti Patel and what has she done? Click here for more info. 

Words: Adi Cohen | Subbing: Pamela Machado

 

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