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Shamir Visit to London Demonstrates Israeli-british Friendship Alive and Well

June 5, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The friendship between Britain and Israel seems to be standing up well to their differences on some aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict which have been highlighted during the two-day official visit here by Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

This is the impression which emerged from yesterday’s protracted discussions between Shamir and Sir Geoffrey Howe, the British Foreign Secretary, and which was reinforced by this morning’s 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The widest differences were over Jewish settlements in Judaea, Samaria and the Gaza district which Britain regards as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. For its part, Israel expressed disappointment at Britain’s partial support for the Arab boycott procedures, and its reluctance to sell Israel arms or North Sea oil.

Britain also failed to convince Shamir to adopt a positive attitude towards the February agreement between Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization over future peace negotiations. Shamir told his hosts that Jordanian backing for the PLO would not help the peace process and that it would even be a danger for Jordan itself.


However, there were also some points of understanding. The British, for example, did not share King Hussein’s enthusiasm for a new international peace conference.

There was also positive agreement on the need for greater cooperation in combatting international terrorism.

This was emphasized particularly by Thatcher and Trade and Industry Secretary Norman Tebbit, both of whom were the targets of last summer’s Brighton Hotel bombing by the Irish Republican Army.


The talks have also been notable for the amount of time which was devoted to international affairs not directly affecting Israel, such as the war in the Persian Gulf and the situation in the Sudan. Their mood, Foreign Office officials said yesterday, had been friendly and uninhibited.

Shamir has also had engagements with Michael Heseltine, Defense Secretary, and with leaders of the opposition Labor and Alliance parties.


There was also a highly emotional moment during the luncheon given yesterday by Howe, when Avi Pazner, the Israel Foreign Minister’s press officer, was seated next to Lady Amelie Jakobovits, wife of Britain’s Chief Rabbi.

In the course of the lunch, the two found that they were first cousins, who had lost track of each other as children during the Nazi occupation of France.

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