U.K. Upset With Israel's Russia-free Condemnation of Chemical Attack on Ex-spy

After Israel condemned the nerve agent attack without mentioning Russia, Britain says 'we expect strong statements' from all of their 'close partners, Israel included'

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in London on March 17, 2018.
SIMON DAWSON/AFP

The United Kingdom expressed discontent with Israel's condemnation of the nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy in Britain, which the U.K. is attributing to the Kremlin. Israel condemned the use of a military-grade nerve agent, but did not mention Russia by name in the statement.

"We expect strong statements of support from all our close partners, Israel included," officials at the British embassy in Israel said.

>> Isolated From Europe and U.S., Britain’s Theresa May Has No Power to Threaten Putin | Analysis ■ 'Moscow Rules': Why Russian Defectors Are Fair Game in Britain - and Not in Israel >>

A day after Britain asked for an official condemnation, Israel issued its Russia-free statement. "Israel views with gravity the event which took place in Great Britain and condemns it vigorously," the statement said.  "We hope that the international community will cooperate in order to avoid such further events."

The British made their request on Wednesday, March 13th during a meeting between British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey and Israeli national security adviser Meit Ben-Shabbat, whose meeting was scheduled in advance regarding another matter.

Political officials added that there was no significant delay in the statement compared to previous instances, which sometimes extend beyond 24 hours.

Earlier Thursday, leaders of the United States, France and Germany joined Britain on Thursday in blaming Russia for poisoning a former spy with a powerful nerve agent, condemning what they called the first attack with a nerve agent in Europe since World War II.

In a rare joint statement, U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said “there is no plausible alternative explanation” to Russian responsibility.

They said Russia’s failure to respond to Britain’s “legitimate request” for an explanation “further underlines its responsibility” in the attack in southern England.