Netanyahu Extends Europe Tour with UK Visit, Theresa May Meeting

benjamin netanyahu
Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extended his upcoming European tour to include a meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street.

The meeting between the two leaders is set down for next Thursday, June 7. It will wind up Mr. Netanyahu’s tour of European capitals to discuss the situation in Syria and the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr Netanyahu will fly with his wife Sara to Berlin next Monday, June 4, where he will hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. He will then go to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron. He is scheduled to return to Israel late on Thursday after his UK stopover.

Mr. Netanyahu’s last visit to London came in November when he and Mrs. May spoke of their shared pride in the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel at the Balfour Centenary Dinner.

The Balfour Declaration was the first international recognition by a world power of the right of the Jewish people to a national home in their ancestral land. It formed the basis of Britain’s Mandate for Palestine in 1920.

Mr Netanyahu told the Knesset on Monday night this visit will hinge on the need for continued dialogue over the Syria civil war.

There were years when we stood alone against these two threats [of Syria and Iran], but I think the situation has changed for the better.

Of course I’ll present the things that are essential for Israel’s security.

Regarding Syria, our position is clear: We believe there’s no room for any Iranian military presence in any part of Syria.

And this obviously isn’t our position alone; I can say with confidence that it also represents the positions of others in the Middle East and also outside it.

Mr. Netanyahu’s European tour follows Israel’s recent plea for the European Union to cease funding dozens of European and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that drive boycotts against Israel.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry made the plea last month when it published a 40-page report with a list of groups it says receives EU funding and call for boycotts against Israel.

It said some of the groups had links to militant groups while receiving EU money, putting the scope of such assistance to European and Palestinian groups at 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in 2016.

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