British Minister in Trouble Over Netanyahu Meeting Wanted to Give Money to Israeli Army for Syrian Refugees

British International Development Secretary Priti Patel looked into the possibility of supporting IDF field hospitals treating Syrians in the Golan Heights

Priti Patel, U.K. international development secretary, speaks in London on Oct 27, 2017
Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

British International Development Secretary Priti Patel, currently facing a massive scandal for meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wanted to provide financial support for Israeli army field hospitals caring for Syrian refugees in the Golan Heights, a report from The Guardian confirmed by the British Prime Minister's office said Tuesday.

Patel asked others in her department to look into whether it was possible for to support Israel's humanitarian operations in the Golan Heights, despite the fact that the U.K. does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The British Prime Minister's office released a statement confirming that Patel had taken meetings to discuss providing medical support for Syrian refugees in the Golan, while also confirming that "the U.K. does not provide any financial support to the Israeli army."

Patel held formal meetings with Israeli officials including Netanyahu this summer during a family vacation, and failed to disclose these meetings to the foreign secretary's office in advance. This violation of the ministerial code of conduct came to light during Netanyahu's visit in London for Balfour Declaration's centennial, and since then some have called for Patel to be reprimand or even fired.