Theresa Villiers MP said that the trip was her third visit to the Jewish State, and that she was “once again impressed with the vibrancy and energy” of Israel as a bastion of democracy.
Ms Villiers emphasised that “Seeing Israel at first hand brings home just how small the country is and how severe the security risks are with which it has to grapple on a daily basis”.
She noted that she was stuck by the “relative stability” of the West Bank in comparison to the “violent convulsions happening elsewhere in the Middle East”.
Ms Villiers said she had the opportunity to meet UK Ambassador to Israel, H.E. David Quarrey, “and pass on some of the concerns expressed by my constituents on the decision by the UK Government to vote for UN Security Council Resolution 2334”.
On Iran, the Chipping Barnet MP noted that Dr. Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center, and David Horovitz, editor of the Times of Israel, provided a “grim assessment” of Iranian state sponsored terrorism for Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and a series of other proxies in Syria. Ms Villiers said that similar concerns were shared by Israeli political leaders Yair Lapid, former Finance Minister of Israel, and Gilad Erdan, Public Security Minister of Israel, who the group also met.
She said that despite the pessimistic views shared by some about the prospect of restarting peace negotiations, she left the country “in no doubt about the continuing determination in Israel to strive for a settlement to deliver lasting peace and security”.
The delegation included a visit to Israeli charities Beit Issie Shapiro and Save a Child’s Heart, a trip to Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city, and a visit to Sderot and farming cooperative Netiv Ha’asara in southern Israel where the local residents have been heavily impacted by rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza.
Thanking CFI, Theresa Villiers MP wrote: “I believe that visiting Israel and the West Bank can provide Parliamentarians with crucial insight into the long-running dispute over this land, and I am grateful to Conservative Friends of Israel for inviting me to take part in this visit”.
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