Netanyahu confirms UK visit to mark Balfour centenary celebrations

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Netanyahu confirms UK visit to mark Balfour centenary celebrations

Israel's prime minister is 'looking forward' to a UK trip in November, where he'll mark the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed for the first time he will take part in events in London marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

The Israeli prime minister said he was “looking forward” to the trip in November and enhancing bilateral cooperation after being formally invited by Theresa May last month.

His confirmation came ahead of talks with Boris Johnson in Jerusalem. The foreign secretary is in the country for his first full visit since taking on the role, during which he also met President Reuven Rivlin and Labour chief Isaac Herzog as well Peace Now.

Described May’s government as “rock-like supporters” of Israel, Johnson told Netanyahu: “I should remind you the policy of our government is for a two-state solution and we hope to help bring it about in a modest and humble way. Obviously we want to remove the obstacles to that.”

He said ensuring Israelis were not subjected to terrorism was “our absolute priority” while also stressed the need to address the settlements. He said: “I think – and I know you agree – there is an opportunity. I think this have changed in the world. I know you’re flying a great deal and talking to people across the world and this chance to look at this issue afresh.”

Welcoming the creation of a new working group to pave the way for a post-Brexit trade deal, he added: “We are the biggest European trading partner with Israel. You’re huge contributors to the UK economy.”

Netanyahu said: “It’s evident we agree on most things but not all things.” He insisted that, rather than settlements, the reason for the lack of peace was “the persistent refusal to recognise a nation state for the Jewish people in any boundaries. I think if you want to solve a problem go to the core of it.”

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