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Israel embassy plot: 10,000 sign UK petition for investigation

Image of Shai Masot with Israeli ambassador Mark Regev at a Labour party conference (R) [Amir Chowdry/Facebok]
Shai Masot with Israeli ambassador Mark Regev at a Labour party conference (R) [Amir Chowdry/Facebok]

More than 10,000 British people have signed a petition calling on the government to investigate an Israeli's embassy staffer's plot to "take down" a senior member of the government opposed to illegal settlement building in the occupied territories.

Shai Masot was exposed by an undercover reporter telling a British civil servant, Maria Strizzolo, of his desire to "take down" the deputy foreign secretary, Alan Duncan, who is a vocal critic of the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

The British government said it considered the matter "closed" and would not be investigating further, but has faced pressure from opposition parties and members of the Conservative party to do so.

The foreign affairs select committee has said it will conduct its own investigation into the affair.

Both Strizzolo and Masot resigned earlier this month.

The petition was created by Louise Pyne-Jones, a research officer at the British NGO Friends of al-Aqsa. The organisation says it is dedicated to "defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem".

The petition states: "Further to the revelation made by Al Jazeera that a senior political officer at the UK's Israeli embassy talked of bringing down a UK minister, other MPs, and influenced the setting up of groups within the Conservative and Labour parties, which are of serious concern.

"These actions of an employee of a foreign embassy demonstrate major external interference into British domestic politics, which is a serious national security issue.

"It is therefore important that MPs openly debate the issue. We the undersigned urge the government to investigate this issue further, and prioritise this petition for a debate in parliament on receipt of the required signatories."

The petition needs another 90,000 signatures before the issue can be considered for debate in the House of Commons. It was created on 19 January and runs for six months.

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