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    Reception at the Residence of the British Ambassador

    held on Tuesday 17th June 2014

    The guest speaker at the annual reception hosted by HE Matthew Gould and Mrs Gould for members of the Association was Attorney Dov Weissglas, who was the former Bureau Chief of the late Prime Minister of Israel, Mr Ariel Sharon, and a Special Foreign Affairs Advisor to him as Prime Minister from May 2002 to June 2006. Mr Weissglas was introduced by Rob Dixon, Deputy Head of Mission as Mr Gould was escorting Eric Pickles, MP, the British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

    Mr Weissglas spoke extensively about the history and methods utilised by Arab terrorists, particularly of suicide bombers. He stated that most were not idealists but either social misfits or social outcasts who would not be accepted into Palestinian society. They were given the choice of living as outsiders of the community or becoming "heroes" and achieving glory, plus the inducement of a large amount of money for their families.

    The number of suicide bombers and of people killed or injured had significantly reduced after 2005. Mr. Weissglas attributed this to the regime of Mahmoud Abbas, who took over the Palestinian leadership in 2004, and who had co-operated with the Israeli security forces. Due to the porosity of the border, it is not possible to prevent terrorist attacks without the co-operation of the Palestinian authority. Yasser Arafat, he said, had talked peace with Israel, but had continued to fund terrorist operations.

    Weissglas stressed the importance of reaching a settlement with the current Palestinian leadership. He did not believe that any future leader of the Palestinian authority would have the same interest in reaching co-existence and a peace settlement as Abbas.

    The Ambassador introduced Eric Pickles who was on a fact-finding visit to Israel. The Minister said that, as soon as he became an MP, he had joined the Conservative Friends of Israel, and he is a staunch supporter of the Jewish State. Israel he said brings democracy and stability to an otherwise unstable Middle East.