British FM backs non-violent struggle against security fence
William Hague meets with Palestinian activists, calls jailed leaders 'human rights defenders.' Also meets Peres, Lieberman, reiterates Britain's role in future Mideast developments
British Foreign Minister William Hague on Wednesday met with the Palestinian prime minister and Israeli foreign minister, but his visit with Palestinian activists made the most headlines.
Hague met with three senior Palestinian activists spearheading the popular struggle against Jewish settlements and the West Bank security fence, and expressed his support in their non-violent struggle
"Hague told us that he supports the non-violent popular struggle, similarly to the official statement made by the European Union," Mahmud Zuhari, one of the activists, told Ynet.
The meeting was held in the West Bank town of Bitunia, just south of Ramallah, in an area overlooking the security fence and Ofer Prison, where many activists are jailed.
"We've raised a number of issues during the meeting, especially the social and political implications of the fence on Palestinian reality," said Zohari, adding that they explained to Hague that the fence was not constructed for security reasons, because if that was the case, "Israel would have built it on the border, and not over our territory."
Zohari said Hague expressed interest in the Palestinian non-violent popular struggle, and the incorporation of cultural and educational elements in it. According to Zohari, Hague also referred to the struggle's leaders who are jailed in Israel as "defenders of human rights."
Zohari said the meeting with Hague marked a new achievement of the popular struggle: "We've met parliamentarians from all over the world; we have a lobby in Brussels, and the meeting today is a direct product of our efforts. It means our struggle is transitioning from the support of the street and the European public, to the support of governments."
Hague also met with President Shimon Peres and his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman.
During his meeting with Peres, the president commented on the Iranian nuclear threat and said, "Iranians are not only promoting nuclear weapons, but serve as a hub of global terror." The president noted that the Ayatollah regime "has a lot of money and does not respect the law, adding, "I am not sure that those who are standing up to them are acting aggressively enough."
At the beginning of his meeting with President Peres, Hague reiterated the importance of the Middle East region, and stressed that his country was giving its utmost attention to the Iranian nuclear program, as well as the situation in Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon.
The British foreign minister noted that his country, as a member of the UN's Security Council, needs to pro-actively address many issues in order to prevent a future conflict.
Hague also met with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, who claimed the British judicial system was being exploited in order to harm Israel, but will soon harm other democracies that are trying to battle "the rising Islamic terrorism wave."
Minister Lieberman noted that the problem goes beyond the relations between Israel and Britain, and was undermining the Western world's ability to cope with fanatical terror.