David Lammy lines up first visit to Israel as Foreign Secretary

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David Lammy lines up first visit to Israel as Foreign Secretary

Reports in Israel claim Lammy's visit will include meetings with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and other senior government officials

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

David Lammy speaks at memorial event to those murdered on Oct 7 at Lab conference in 2023
David Lammy speaks at memorial event to those murdered on Oct 7 at Lab conference in 2023

New Foreign Secretary David Lammy is scheduled to visit Israel as early as next week, it has emerged.

Reports from Israel said the visit will include meetings with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and other senior government officials. 

Prior to the visit, British diplomats have engaged in preliminary discussions with their Israeli counterparts on issues raised by recent media reports.

Lammy is likely to stress that Labour wishes to pursue a foreign policy that strengthens the UK’s reputation for being an “honest broker” in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer has also stressed his intentions to “deepen” this country’s relationship with Israel, after speaking with Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the week.

But he is also of the view that the Palestinians have an undisputed right to a state of their own, once Israel’s safety and security is assured.

Speaking to Jewish News in May, Keir Starmer also  stressed his support for the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as its prosecutor seeks warrants for the arrests of Hamas leaders, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his defence minister.

The previous Conservative government had secretly filed a challenge on June 10, questioning the ICC’s jurisdiction over Israeli nationals in relation to alleged war crimes in Gaza. 

However, Labour officials have now briefed that the party continues to believe the ICC, based in The Hague, does have jurisdiction over Gaza.

Lammy has announced plans to review several key issues, including future funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the legal advice given to the previous government regarding UK arms sales to Israel.

Lammy stated, “We did raise issues about the funding of the dispatch box, and real concerns that did not want the situation where the UK was contributing to tremendous hardship already in Gaza.”

The cabinet minister, who has spoken at Labour Friends of Israel events, also emphasised the party’s commitment to international humanitarian law.

He said, “I have been crystal clear on international humanitarian law. There will be no resiling from that, because it’s important that we are all seen to uphold the rules-based order at a time particularly when authoritarian states are discarding it.”

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