Boris Johnson to meet anti-settlement campaigners on Israel visit


Boris Johnson has arrived in Israel for a politically-sensitive visit which will see him meet anti-settlement campaigners.

On his first working visit to the country as Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson met Israel's president Reuven Rivlin.

During the trip he was also expected to meet opposition leader Isaac Herzog, before holding talks with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset.

But one of the most controversial aspects of the trip will be his talks with Peace Now, an Israeli group campaigning for a two-state solution, which will brief Mr Johnson as he tours the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The organisation monitors settlement numbers, which it says damage Israel's international image and pose a threat to its future.

Although the Cabinet minister visited for the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres in September, his last formal trip was as London's mayor.

During the 2015 trade mission, he branded calls for a trade boycott against Israel "completely crazy'' and said only a few snaggle-toothed "lefty academics'' pursued the cause.

The pro-Israel comments led to a series of meetings planned with Palestinians groups being axed.

Earlier this year, Israel's ambassador to the UK was forced to apologise after an embassy official was caught in an undercover sting discussing how to ''take down'' Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan and dismissing Mr Johnson as ''an idiot''.