The United Kingdom’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has embarked on a trip for talks with Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leaders, hoping to progress peace talks in the region.
During his trip, Raab has been meeting with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian president, Mahmood Abbas; the meetings were set to advance peace discussions following Israel agreeing to halt further annexations of Palestinian territory earlier this month.
Israel also recently established diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this month and Raab’s visit was expected to mark a move towards further peace within the region.
Before his visit, Raab stated: “Israel’s suspension of annexation is an essential step towards a more peaceful Middle East”. Before going on to say: “It is important to build on this new dynamic, and ultimately only the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority can negotiate the two-state solution required to secure lasting peace.”
However, the trip by Britain’s foreign secretary is expected to deliver rather little than Raab had hoped, with the two-day summit kicking off by reports of Israel’s prime minister urging the UK government to end the pursuit of sanctions against Iran – the region’s largest power.
Whilst the recent events in the region have created a window of opportunity to boost the peace protest – prompting Raab’s trip – the peace talks between Israel and Palestine have seen many previous flashpoints before in which the process was expected to be given momentum.
These have largely come and gone in the past with little progress; the plan put forward by Donald Trump last year – in which Israel were permitted to annex much more Israeli territory – was met with disdain in Palestine and has made progress more difficult in its wake.
It has been widely viewed that the United Kingdom carry significantly more diplomatic weight to encourage negotiations between Israel and Palestine following this move by Donald Trump, which has seen increased suspicion of the United States in recent months.
With decades of history behind the conflict, with Palestinians fighting for territory to be recognised along the lines of the 1967 partition – recent years have seen solutions proposed with significantly less territory ceded to a Palestinian state, leading to significantly less diplomatic resolve by Palestinian leaders.
It is also widely thought that Raab’s background (his father was a Jewish refugee who fled Czechoslovakia for the UK in 1938) could add new impetus to the negotiations within the region.
Although there is renewed hope for progress in the region, the chance of Dominic Raab’s visit making significant inroads in the discussions is yet to be seen.