UK’s May to reiterate to Netanyahu that settlements breach of trust

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LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to tell her Israeli counterpart that continued settlements in the West bank by the latter’s country are tantamount to a breach of trust between the two countries. The matter will be discussed when the two meet soon for the first time, her spokesman said on Monday.

Although the meeting will be focused on the relationship between the two countries and matters of bilateral interest, the spokesman said the topic of peace in the Middle East is likely to rise between the two leaders. “Of course I would expect the Middle East peace process to come up, and in that context the PM to reiterate our long-standing position that we see the continued increase in settlement activity undermining trust,” the spokesperson told reporters.

The declaration is significant in terms of the growing pressure on Israel from the UN and other states against encroachment upon Palestinian safe havens. However, the spokesman made sure to clarify that this was by no means a shift in policy and that they would “put forward the very clear position that we have taken of needing to pursue a twin-track approach, recognising the right of Israel to live safe from terrorism.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, is aiming at pushing the British Prime Minister towards supporting his bid for a harder international view of Iran. Netanyahu told his cabinet the topic of Iran would be a diplomatic priority, especially considering the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House might be the ideal situation to pick apart the nuclear deal struck between Iran and the US under the Obama administration.

The meeting will be the first such between the two Prime Ministers, and may be detrimental to relations between them while the two are in power.