Israeli spokesman suspended after row with UK foreign secretary

Eylon Levy appeared to criticise David Cameron after he called upon Israel to allow more aid trucks into Gaza

MEE staff

Israeli English-language spokesperson Eylon Levy's picture on his personal account on X
Eylon Levy pictured on his personal account on X

The Israeli government’s English-language spokesperson has been dismissed after becoming embroiled in a row with the British foreign secretary on social media, according to Israeli reports. 

Eylon Levy had responded to a post on X by David Cameron earlier this month in which the UK’s top diplomat called upon Israel to allow more trucks to deliver aid into Gaza.

“I hope you are also aware there are NO limits on the entry of food, water, medicine, or shelter equipment into Gaza, and in fact the crossings have EXCESS capacity,” Levy reportedly said in a now-deleted post, according to the Times of Israel.

Levy’s response prompted concern within the British government, according to Israel’s Channel 12. 

The UK Foreign Office later requested a clarification and asked whether Levy’s response represented Israel’s official stance. 

Following the UK complaints, British-born Levy was suspended from his role, with multiple Israeli media reports stating that he has been absent from work for more than a week and he is unlikely to return.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the dismissal on Tuesday, but did not give a reason behind it. 

Since war broke out on 7 October, Israel has imposed severe restrictions on aid delivery to the Gaza Strip.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, the only gateway in and out of the strip not controlled by Israel, has been subject to tight restrictions and multiple Israeli air strikes, creating a bottleneck of aid trucks at the border.

As of 21 October, limited humanitarian aid has been allowed to trickle through the crossing, with some aid allowed through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing in southern Gaza in late December.

The crossing was closed again in January, amid Israeli protests blocking aid into the strip.

The UN and other aid agencies have warned that Gaza is on the brink of famine, as humanitarian access is extremely limited as a result of Israel’s blockage of aid.

The ongoing Israeli assault and siege on Gaza has killed nearly 32,000 people, including at least 27 from malnutrition, most of them children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Levy points finger at UN

In another response to Cameron’s post on aid delivery to Gaza, Levy appeared to criticise the British statement for not mentioning Israel’s “natural, inherent and inalienable right (and obligation) to defend” itself. 

Levy also rejected Cameron’s assertion that Israel was the occupying power in Gaza.

“The idea that Israel is ‘occupying’ Gaza, or that it was ‘occupying’ it even before the war after the 2005 disengagement, is fanciful and based on made up legal definitions tailor-crafted to fit this case and not apply anywhere else in the world,” Levy said. 

In other posts, Levy said that the UN, rather than Israel, was responsible for blocking aid deliveries into Gaza.

“Israel is facilitating aid into Gaza faster than the UN can distribute it, and UN officials are covering up that failure by accusing Israel of not letting aid in,” Levy posted on 19 March.

Alicia Kearns MP, head of the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee, called out Levy over his claim, saying Israel was failing to meet its legal obligation to help aid get into the besieged enclave, citing the closure of the Karem Abu Salem crossing.

Kearns asked for evidence from Levy, pointing out that his claim was the “opposite” of what she had been told by the UK government, Egyptian government and the UN.

Levy assumed his role after the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on 7 October, and gained fame rapidly, after appearing on several US and UK channels staunchly defending the subsequent Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza.

He previously worked as a journalist and adviser to Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

His dimissal comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly bemoaned the lack of English-speaking spokespeople in Israel.

Other reports said the premier’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, had sought to dismiss Levy over his participation in protests in Israel against judicial reforms before the war. 

Israeli spokesman Eylon Levy suspended after row with UK foreign secretary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *