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Priti Patel, who asked for UK aid for Israel army, now Home Secretary

Priti Patel, Britain's International Development Secretary [John Martin/Facebook]
Newly appointed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel [John Martin/Facebook]

The UK’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Priti Patel as Home Secretary despite the fact that she was forced to resign two years ago after holding secret, unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers.

The former international development secretary made several unofficial meetings including with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was accused of conducting her own foreign policy in the Middle East.

The meetings included a visit to an Israeli army field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights; Patel asked officials within her department to look into whether British aid money could be funneled into the medical centre.

In her resignation letter Patel herself admitted she “fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State.”

Her appointment has drawn outrage across the board due to her record on key human rights issues.

Despite the fact that her parents migrated to the UK in the sixties, Patel has voted for a stricter asylum system and against banning the detention of pregnant women in immigration jails.

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The Essex MP has suggested using the potential of food shortages in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit as leverage against the backstop being introduced.

In 2011 Patel supported the death penalty on the BBC’s Question Time arguing it would “act as a deterrent.”

Before being elected as an MP in 2010, Patel worked for the PR company Weber Shandwick, whose clients included the government of Bahrain, which has been criticised for its high number of torture and forced disappearance cases.

Shortly after being elected the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew Patel  to Bahrain to meet several ministers. She has also been on a UAE-funded trip to the country and attended a conference in Washington paid for by the Henry Jackson society.

Patel will replace former Home Secretary Sajid Javid who is now Chancellor. Earlier this year Javid ordered that Shamima Begum be stripped of her British citizenship and let her two-year-old son die of pneumonia in a refugee camp in Syria.

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At the time her family accused him of making the decision based on political gain.

Last week Javid labelled a number of Muslim organisations as extreme, including Cage, the Islamic Human Rights Commission and MEND, saying of Cage that it was “one of the most prominent organisations that rejects our shared values.”

Two years after becoming MP Javid told the Conservative Friends of Israel annual lunch that as a British born Muslim if he had to go and live in the Middle East, he would not go to a Muslim majority country: “There is only one place I could possibly go. Israel. The only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain. And the only nation in the Middle East where my family would feel the warm embrace of freedom and liberty.”

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