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It's about time Cameron made an official visit to Israel

As a key trading partner, a key security partner and the only legitimate and inclusive democracy in the region, Cameron has an obligation to make an official visit to Israel

Cameron speaks to the UJIA last month
The Commentator
On 5 November 2012 13:32

It's easy to answer the simple question. Easier right now if you're Number 10's press office.

Of course, the state of Israel is currently in an election period, and it would be inappropriate for the Prime Minister to prejudge the outcome (even though let's face it, we know what he's really thinking).

But Cameron's trip to the Gulf today raises the important question nevertheless. 

As Prime Minister, Cameron has made many speeches about the state of Israel, peace, business and importantly, on the Iran problem.

But as Prime Minister, Cameron has yet to show his support for Israel in his actions. The UK is consistently twitchy about showing support to a key security and intelligence ally. It's a reality that will only ever diminish Britain.

Many arguments about Britain's role in the Middle East are prefaced by, "Look what happened when they..." followed by broad statements such as, "went to war in Iraq/established Israel/colonised Palestine" and other such sweeping and misleading one-liners.

But look at what happens when Britain only follows the money in the Middle East and North Africa. We get Gaddafis, Mubaraks, and Ahmedinejads and help instigate civil wars. Far better to invest in our moral allies than sell arms to dictators, regardless of the demands for economic growth. Morality is something for which we should be willing to make sacrifices.

So why hasn't Prime Minister Cameron visited Israel yet? Where are the pictures of him posing with defence firms in Tel Aviv or British assisted projects in Jerusalem?

After all, Israel is the UK's largest individual trading partner in the Near East and North Africa. We are ranked 1st in Europe and 3rd in the world for exports from Israel and have done so for a number of years.

Over the past 10 years, the value of bilateral trade in both directions has increased by 60 percent from £2.3bn to over £3.7bn and over the last three years, it has increased by 75 percent.

Could it be that when it comes to Anglo-Israel relations, the UK is already on top of things? Could it be that we're getting complacent? Could it be that the Foreign and Commonwealth office isn't keen for Cameron to look too friendly with a foreign leader that they are less amenable to than they have traditionally been to some of the region's worst dictators?

Whatever the reasons, it's about time Cameron made an official visit to the State of Israel. As a key trading partner, a key security partner and the only legitimate and inclusive democracy in the region, Cameron has an obligation to make an official visit to Israel. Shall we hold our breath?

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Read more on: David Cameron Gulf tour, UK trade, Israel , david cameron, cameron netanyahu, MENA, exports, tel aviv, and Jerusalem
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