British Hypocrisy: Sanctioning Murder.

British Hypocrisy: Sanctioning Murder.

On the 7th July 2014, the Israeli Government began Operation Protective Edge, which was supposedly launched as an assault against Hamas in response to the murder of three Israeli teenagers. However, in reality, the assault is on the Palestinian civilian population and is anything but ‘protective’, and instead is a brutal and aggressive strategy designed to humiliate and destroy innocent civilians. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the current assault (which has far outstripped the terror inflicted on Gaza during the second Intifada) has been the number of right-wing Israelis writing articles in support of genocide. Yochanan Gordon’s When Genocide is Permissible was published by the Times of Israel but a furious response from humanitarians saw it removed and the author in hiding.[1] Similarly, Moshe Feiglin, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset has made a number of chilling statements since the current assault began, not least the suggestion that the civilians of Gaza be housed in concentration camps before being sent to “emigration destinations” if they do not express loyalty to the State that has destroyed their way of life and murdered close to two thousand of their fellow Palestinians, 80% of whom were civilians.[2] When States start talking about resettlement, it should start alarm bells ringing. The euphemisms used in genocides such as the Armenian genocide of 1915 and (ironically) the Jewish genocide under the Nazi regime, included ‘relocation’ and ‘resettlement’ both of which simply meant ‘destruction’.

The British Government responded in its usual fashion when Israel steps out of line. “Staunch” words from David Cameron, were parroted in triumphant fashion on the pages of the Conservative friends of Israel website. On 21st July Cameron said;

“This crisis was triggered by Hamas raining hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities, indiscriminately targeting civilians in contravention of all humanitarian law and norms”.[3]

The vague language used; “hundreds” and “cities” suggests that Hamas attacks were a serious threat to Israel. It also is evidence of a worrying amount of ignorance when it comes to the facts.

Meanwhile, as I write, Cameron has said little more on the subject save for this mealy-mouthed junket that dripped from his lips on the 4th August, as a result of criticism from Ed Milliband about the Prime Minister’s silence on the issue.

Cameron described it as “wrong and illegal”[4] to target civilians. That is “wrong”, not “abhorrent” or “criminal”, just plain “wrong”.  He then went on to suggest that “the UN was “right to speak out in the way it has, because international law is very clear that there mustn’t be the targeting of civilians or the targeting of schools, if that’s what’s happened”.[5]

 

“If that’s what’s happened”.

By questioning the veracity of evidence that is unequivocal in proving the targeting of both civilians and U.N. schools, Cameron has made it very clear that he is indeed a friend of Israel.

Cameron went on;

“And we obviously think it’s appalling, the loss of life that there’s been. From the start, though, we’ve also made the point that if the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel stop, then that would be probably the fastest way to stop this conflict.”[6]

By talking generically about the “loss of life”, Cameron conveniently skirts the issue or proportionality, which is little wonder given that as of the 4th August over 1700 Palestinians (400 children) have been killed (or perhaps more accurately, murdered), and at least 9000 have been wounded, whilst current estimates for Israeli losses currently number 66, 63 being IDF members, and 3 civilians.[7]

He then goes on to use the tried and trusted technique as exposed by Edward Said in his Blaming the Victims [8]collection, by suggesting that Hamas must stop their rocket attacks.

 

Cameron’s comment should come as no surprise considering that 80% of Conservative M.P.s are members of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), and a Dispatches documentary in 2009[9] suggested that £10 million had been donated to the Tory coffers by said group, (although this was disputed by CFI who suggested that as an organisation they had given far less, but individual donors may well have topped up the figure).

There is also the small matter of Britain’s arms deals with Israel and the real likelihood that the artillery being used against the civilian population contains British components.[10]

David Cameron, ably supported by the likes of Chris Greyling whose support for his Prime Minister and reasons for it would be laughable were this not such a tragic situation, [11]have made it very clear who they are backing in this barbarism, and it is not the victims.

It is interesting to note that David Cameron is not quite so bashful in criticising countries other than Israel who they see as committing criminal acts. Ten days after the start of Operation Protective Edge, Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine killing 298 passengers. How and why it happened is still not entirely clear, but the air liner was brought down by shrapnel from a missile which may have been fired by Ukrainians or Russian separatists.

On this occasion, David Cameron was not at all reticent in castigating the country he saw as most likely to blame.  “We need to keep turning up the pressure until Russia decides to behave like any civilised country”[12]                                                   

So potentially being responsible for downing an aeroplane is uncivilised, but actually shelling three U.N. schools leaves room for doubt (“If that’s what’s happened” ) and little condemnation. The result of Britain’s ‘neutral’ stance in this campaign is that Netanyahu can continue his horrific assault with impunity. By allowing it to happen, through weapons supplies and failing to condemn Israel, the British Government is surely complicit in the murder of innocent Palestinian civilians.

By the way, has anyone seen the Middle East Peace Envoy lately?

[1] http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/yochanan-genocide-permissible.html

[2] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/concentrate-and-exterminate-israel-parliament-deputy-speakers-gaza-genocide-plan

[3] http://www2.cfoi.co.uk/

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/04/david-cameron-israel-gaza-hamas-ed-miliband-labour

[5] ibid

[6] ibid

[7] http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.608548

[8] Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question..Edward W. Said, Christopher Hitchens. Verso, 2001

[9] http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-42/episode-1

[10] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-britains-role-in-arming-israel-9643902.html

[11] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/03/israel-uk-condemnation-peace-hopes-cameron-miliband

[12] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28567991

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