PLO official urges UK’s May to act against minister for secret Israel talks
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PLO official urges UK’s May to act against minister for secret Israel talks

Hanan Ashrawi says Priti Patel's actions are 'scandalous,' slams 'Israeli meddling in other governments' affairs'

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi at her office in Ramallah, January 31, 2012 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
PLO official Hanan Ashrawi at her office in Ramallah, January 31, 2012 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday condemned a British minister’s unauthorized meetings in Israel as “scandalous,” urging Prime Minister Theresa May to take action.

British International Development Secretary Priti Patel was summoned back from a trip to Africa on Wednesday to meet with May, with speculation she would be fired.

Patel had apologized Monday for holding 12 separate meetings — including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — during a family holiday to Israel in August, without notifying the Foreign Office or Downing Street in advance.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi condemned the visit, accusing Israel of seeking to turn ministers in foreign government into “advocates” through illegitimate means.

“I think it is scandalous and that leads me to question how many more cases, not just in Britain but other places, have not been exposed,” Ashrawi told AFP.

Britain’s International Development Secretary Priti Patel arrives at 10 Downing Street for the weekly meeting of the cabinet in central London on October 31, 2017. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)

“It must warrant serious investigation and serious accountability,” she said, though she stopped short of calling on May to fire her.

“I think Israeli meddling in other governments’ affairs has to be looked into.”

During her meetings, Patel discussed the possibility of British aid being used to support medical assistance for Syrian refugees arriving in the Golan Heights, Downing Street said.

Reports suggest, however, that she had not explained to May that this involved supplying funding to the Israeli army, which has facilitated the treatment of wounded refugees in Israeli hospitals.

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