Britain and Israel will sign a 10-year trade and defense pact in London on Monday, promising cooperation on issues such as cybersecurity and a joint commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The deal was announced by Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, and her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, despite evidence that spyware made by the Israeli firm NSO Group was likely used to spy on two British lawyers advising the ex – wife of the ruler of Dubai, Princess Haya.
In a joint Daily Telegraph article, Truss and Lapid said the deal amounted to “a new strategic plan for the next decade spanning cyber, technology, commerce and defense,” while the two countries would “work at night. and day to prevent Iran regime from becoming a nuclear power ”.
The ministers added that the two countries would “work more closely” to defend themselves in cyberspace, while Israel would become a major cyber partner for the UK and would have better access to the UK market. “Our partnership will keep us at the forefront of the technological revolution,” added Truss and Lapid.
Just over a week ago, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the UK would outlaw the political wing of the Palestinian political group Hamas, aligning the UK with the US and the EU. “Hamas is fundamentally and fiercely anti-Semitic,” Patel said in a speech she gave in Washington DC.
But it comes after a UK court ruled that NSO’s Pegasus spyware was used against divorce lawyer Lady Shackleton and an associate, at a time when they were advising Princess Haya in a battle for child protection that was taking place in the UK.
UK complaints at the time were relatively low-key, although sources close to the company said it had modified its software to prevent +44 UK numbers from being spied on again. NSO technology has since been blacklisted, citing the use of the company’s software by regimes around the world for the purposes of “transnational repression.”
Meanwhile, talks with Iran over rescuing the 2015 nuclear deal resume Monday in Vienna after a five-month hiatus, although there is little hope of a breakthrough that would allow US United to join the agreement given Tehran’s negotiating demands.
Nonetheless, in the joint foreign ministers’ statement, Britain seeks to reassure Israel that it will remain vigilant on the matter. “We will also work day and night to prevent the Iranian regime from ever becoming a nuclear power. Time is running out, which reinforces the need for close cooperation with our partners and friends to thwart Tehran’s ambitions, ”said Truss and Lapid.