Government stresses closeness to Israel in response to petition

The government has emphasised Britain’s close relationship with Israel in response to a petition which called for an inquiry into the actions of the Israeli embassy.

Nearly 12,000 people have signed the petition after revelations made by Al-Jazeera that a senior political officer at the embassy talked of bringing down a Minister and other MPs, and influenced the setting up of groups within the Conservative and Labour Parties.

The petition said the actions of the employee demonstrated a major external interference in British domestic politics, and was a serious national security issue.

But in response the government replied: “The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship, built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields such as education, hi-tech research, business, arts and culture. We are continuing to deepen and advance our links with Israel in these areas. Both countries have much we can share with each other and benefit from our relationship.

“It is clear that in this case, these remarks can only be attributed to one person. The Israeli Ambassador has apologised and explained that the comments made do not reflect the views of the Embassy or Government of Israel.

“The Embassy has informed us that the official has resigned from his position at the Israeli Embassy and left the UK.”

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