Philip Hammond with Yuli Edelstein

Philip Hammond with Yuli Edelstein

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed members of both houses of Parliament last night on the second day of his visit to the UK.

The Likud MK took questions from around 100 MPs and peers at an event organised by the Inter Parliamentary Union, part of a trip at the invitation of his House of Commons counterpart John Bercow that will also includes meetings with David Cameron and representatives of the Jewish community.  

Relations with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear issue were on the agenda during talks with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond last night. Edelstein praised the UK as one of the UK’s closest allies, citing its strong stance against boycotts.

Hammond raised the issue of settlement and said Israel was in contravention of international law. In response, the Knesset Speaker, who lives in the Gush Etzion settlement of Neve Daniel, said: “11 years ago we left Gaza while evacuating thousands from their homes, and what we got was not peace, but terror.” The situation worsened as a result of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Edelstein asserted, adding that ”regretfully, monies that reach Gaza are invested in rockets and tunnels, not in providing welfare to the population.”

Turning to Iran, Edelstein said: “The denial of the Holocaust, as well as the cartoon exhibits organized by Iran which mock the Holocaust, have yet to be publicly condemned by anyone, despite my pleas. The big money that is flowing into Iran is worrying, because some of it may reach Hezbollah and Hamas, who will use it against Israel.” 

 He will also host an event for prominent young activists from a cross-section of British society including journalists, students and entrepreneurs. Ahead of thevisit, Edelstein said: “I am proud to represent the Knesset and the State of Israel, also as a settler of Judea and Samaria.”

In an article for The Independent last week, Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian envoy to the UK, said he was “incredulous” at the fact he would be appearing in Parliament. He added: “He lives on an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land and he publicly opposed Palestinian statehood.”

He will also host an event for prominent young activists from a cross-section of British society including journalists, students and entrepreneurs.