Netanyahu meets Sunak at Downing Street amid protests

Source: BBC

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has met Benjamin Netanyahu at Downing Street as the Israeli leader faces domestic turmoil over judicial reforms.

Mr Sunak greeted Mr Netanyahu outside No 10 ahead of talks over security and the threat from Iran.

He is also due to meet Home Secretary Suella Braverman on his one-day visit.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered at the gates of Downing Street to demonstrate against Mr Netanyahu’s policies.

A cacophony of noise could be heard, including shouts of “shame” and “traitor”, as the Israeli PM made the short walk from his convoy to the steps of Number 10.

A planned photo opportunity for the gathered media was cancelled, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported, and there was no joint statement.

The visit comes at a time of political turmoil in Israel, with the country gripped by months of some of the biggest demonstrations in its history.

Mr Netanyahu has defied calls to scrap moves to shake up the legal system, amid warnings the crisis is not only causing social upheaval but could harm Israel’s security with growing numbers of military reservists refusing to serve in protest.

Thursday saw tens of thousands of Israelis take to the streets across the country, in scenes which have been repeated weekly and escalated since the start of the year.

Downing Street said that in his meeting with Mr Netanyahu, Mr Sunak “stressed the importance of upholding the democratic values that underpin our relationship, including in the proposed judicial reforms in Israel”.

It said the two men also discussed the war in Ukraine and Iran’s “destabilising activity”, as well as its nuclear programme. It said the leaders welcomed an agreement signed this week aimed at deepening technical, trade and security ties between the two countries.

Although previous visits to the UK by Mr Netanyahu have been met with demonstrations by pro-Palestinian groups, Friday’s protests – led by British and Israeli Jews, with many waving Israeli flags – were an unusual sight.

Opponents say Mr Netanyahu is using the reforms, which will weaken the power of the Supreme Court amongst other things, to bolster himself and shield policies of his government – the most right-wing in Israel’s history.

Mr Netanyahu has accused critics of disrespecting voters who gave his coalition and its reform platform a commanding win in November’s elections.

Related Post

No more posts to show

Post Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *