A British government minister was apparently so dedicated to her work that she spent a “family holiday” in Israel conducting 12 undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Those covert meetings brought about the downfall of Priti Patel on Wednesday night. She was forced to resign as international development secretary, responsible for Britain’s overseas aid budget, admitting her actions “fell below the standards of transparency and openness” expected of a minister.
Her position became untenable as further revelations this week showed she had held two additional unrecorded meetings with Israeli officials in London and New York in September, organised and attended by a prominent Israel lobbyist.
All meetings conducted by British ministers on official business are supposed to be recorded by government civil servants.
Although the office of Theresa May, the British prime minister, has insisted it did not know of these meetings until the BBC revealed them on November 3, a report from Britain’s Jewish Chronicle newspaper suggested otherwise. It claimed that, while the meetings were not authorised beforehand, May’s officials learnt of them almost immediately through Israeli counterparts.
Excursion to the Golan
During her vacation in Israel, Patel also dispensed with sightseeing to head instead to the Golan Heights, Syrian territory illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Thoughtfully, the Israeli army…