Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has been forced to cancel a number of scheduled events during a trip to the Palestinian territories after he made a number of strongly pro-Israel remarks during the initial phase of his visit.
One Palestinian youth group, the Sharek Youth Foundation, withdrew their invitation to meet with them after the Mayor and Conservative Cabinet minister made a number of remarks criticising the BDS movement, which campaigns for sanctions against Israel on the basis of its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. They said his comments indicated he “fails to recognise our very existence as Palestinians”.
When asked about the schedule changes, Mr. Johnson attributed them to security concerns, and confirmed that he intended to go ahead with his meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah. The Mayor said that it was Mr. Hamdallah who had raised the potential security risks of attending some of the meetings on his agenda. As a consequence, he will also not be accompanying the rest of his delegation when they attend an event to discuss the issue of affordable housing for Palestinians.
Mr. Johnson defended his remarks, reminding journalists that they reflected government policy and said his comments had led to emotions being “whipped up” on social media.