UK minister of state for the Middle East visits Israel

Lord Ahmad met with Palestinian officials, controversial groups and Israeli officials on his first official visit to Israel.

 Lord Ahmad, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office of United Kingdom attends the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE)
Lord Ahmad, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office of United Kingdom attends the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE)

Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), is this week visiting Israel for the first time in his official capacity.

In his visit thus far, Lord Ahmad met with Finance Minister Nir Barkat and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and expressed a strong commitment to Israel and the UK's trade and investment relations.

In the meeting with Cohen, Lord Ahmad stressed his support for a two-state solution, later sharing this message on his Twitter.

On his first official trip to Israel in this position, Lord Ahmad shared his excitement at returning to east Jerusalem. 

Lord Ahmad met with the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki during his time in east Jerusalem.

 PALESTINIAN FOREIGN Minister Riyad al-Maliki attends an Arab League meeting in Cairo, in 2015. On this month’s UN Special Committee vote, he declared: ‘this decision opens a new era in which Israel will be called to account.’ (credit: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS) PALESTINIAN FOREIGN Minister Riyad al-Maliki attends an Arab League meeting in Cairo, in 2015. On this month’s UN Special Committee vote, he declared: ‘this decision opens a new era in which Israel will be called to account.’ (credit: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS)

British lord commits to Palestinian people

In a tweet, the Lord publicly expressed his support for the Palestinian people and concern at the escalation of violence in the West Bank.

In light of the recent controversy surrounding Itamar Ben-Gvir, the UK Ministry has also taken this opportunity to assert its belief that the Temple Mount should remain under Jordanian control

It is unclear if Lord Ahmad reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian foreign minister, who has previously warned that a two-state solution is no longer viable.

"During his time in the Old City of Jerusalem, Lord Ahmad will...reiterate the importance of the Status Quo and Jordanian custodianship over the Holy Sites in Jerusalem."

British Consulate-General Jerusalem

Lord Ahmad to visit UNRWA school

Lord Ahmad also visited a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) school, where he announced £3.7m in additional funding from the UK government.

The UNRWA is a UN agency that has previously been criticized for funding, planning and delivering lessons that support terrorism and antisemitism. These controversial activities include venerating Adolf Hitler.

In addition to his ministerial role, Lord Ahmad is also the UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.

He was employed as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief from 2018 to 2019,Minister for Aviation and Trade, Department for Transport from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Countering Extremism, Home Office from 2015 to 2016, Transport Minister, Skills & Aviation Security from 2015 to 2016, Communities & Local Government Minister from 2014 to 2015, Government Whip and Lord in Waiting from 2012 to 2014, Vice-Chairman (national) of the Conservative Party from 2008 and 2010 and the Councillor of Wimbledon Park and Cabinet Member in the London Borough of Merton from 2002 to 2012.