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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/10/17

UK minister forced to resign over secret Israel meetings as questions continue to swirl

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Was Patel pursuing an "alternative" policy towards Israel, or its neighbors? And if so, what was that policy, and did anyone senior to her authorize it?

Her role in talking to senior Israelis bypassed the foreign office. Did she do so because officials there like Alan Duncan were not seen as sympathetic enough to Israel, and might try to sabotage it? The permanent bureaucracy of the foreign office has often been seen as holding "pro-Arab" views not unrelated to western interests in the Gulf and its plentiful oil.

And how does May, a fervent supporter of Israel, fit into this picture?

Given British government secrecy, it will likely never be possible to provide definitive answers. But it is worth remembering that Israel, its still-powerful neocon allies in Washington and the Saudi regime are angling for the Israeli army to reverse the decisive gains Assad and his allies have made in taking back control of Syria in recent months.

This week Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel, wrote in the Haaretz newspaper that the Saudis were meddling yet again in Lebanese politics, forcing Hizbullah into greater political prominence, to provide the pretext for Israel to renew its confrontation with the Lebanese militia and thereby stoke a new war between Israel and Lebanon and Syria.

In his words: "Israel and Saudi Arabia are fully aligned in this regional struggle, and the Saudis cannot help but be impressed by Israel's increasing assertiveness to strike at Iranian threats in Syria ... When the moment of truth arrives, Israel's allies, with the United States in the lead, should give it full backing."

When the time comes, Israel will, as ever, rely on well-placed friends in western capitals to support and misrepresent its actions. Until her resignation, Priti Patel would undoubtedly have been one of those prominent champions of Israel helping out in a time of need.

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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)
 

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