NJA Disappointed By Lord Ahmad’s Erroneous and Anti-Israel Comments During Visit

The NJA is disappointed with comments made by Lord Ahmad during a recent visit to Israel, which included a tour of Temple Mount and a visit to an UNWRA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] school in Judea and Samaria.

After praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Lord Ahmad felt it necessary to emphasise the UK’s “unwavering support for Jordanian custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites and for the status quo.” His comment is not only factually incorrect, in that the Jordanian Waqf is only responsible for Jerusalem’s Muslim sites and not all ‘holy sites” – but it also fails to mention that the “status quo” power-sharing arrangement between Israel and Jordan was a good-will gesture offered by Israel to demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding religious freedoms in the country. Lord Ahmad’s unnecessary reiteration of the “status quo” does little more than fuel unfounded rumour that the current arrangement is under threat.

The NJA also rejects Lord Ahmad’s comments that Israel should “desist demolitions and evictions that cause unnecessary suffering and are illegal”. His blanket statement fails to account for the particular circumstances around each demolition or eviction, and unfairly portray Israel as an antagonist.

Lastly, the NJA is disappointed that Lord Ahmad announced £3.7m in additional funding to the UNRWA in Gaza. The NJA wishes to remind Lord Ahmad that Gaza is controlled by Hamas (a Palestinian terrorist organisation proscribed by the UK), and only a few weeks ago in December 2022, it was revealed that Hamas had built a terror tunnel under an UNRWA school.

The NJA advises that further funding of organisations operating in Gaza and Judea and Samaria should be contingent on a thorough review by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to ensure UK taxpayer funds are not misappropriated.

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