What's the reason behind Foreign Secretary Miliband's Israel snub?
10 June 2008 6:16 PM
(From the Mail Online Broganblog)
So why did David Miliband have to come home?
Turns out there is no flap on, contrary to what I mentioned yesterday. The Foreign Secretary was to have spent today in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, before going by helicopter to visit the border towns of Ashkelon and Sderot where he was going to show solidarity with Israelis facing daily Hamas rocket strikes from nearby Gaza. He was then going to fly back to London, arriving tonight, in penty of time for tomorrow's 42-day vote. Instead Geoff Hoon told him to come back early, ostensibly because of difficult votes today. Mr Miliband and the rest of us duly got on a dawn flight in Jerusalem. Yet there is no sign of trouble at Westminster this afternoon, prompting some jolly speculation about the reason for the rushed return.
Given that Mr Miliband spent a gruelling day haring around the West Bank on Monday, it seems inconceivable that HMG would risk unbalancing a carefully thought-out trip in a sensitive region by needlessly snubbing the Israelis. They traditionally resent visitors who see the Palestinians first, and the Foreign Secretary did that in spades. He walked across most of the Allenby Bridge, drove into Palestinian territory, visited Jenin and its nearby university, held talks with all the key players including Prime Minister Fayyad, had a late night dinner with Palestinian businessmen in Nablus, before heading for Jerusalem. Today was to have been as intense. Instead he's in Westminster voting on the role of coroners. (Source)
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