…by Stuart Littlewood, Britain

[ Editor’s Note: Stuart is right on top of the British Parliament as it tries to fend off the rebellion from those who do not want the ‘status quo’ with Israel to flow on as usual.

The MPs are well versed in how to parse their words to appear they are serving British interests, where if they were the Zionist lobby would have already unseated them. But despite that reality, they must be challenged and fought at every opportunity.

If the situations were reveresed where the Palestinians were savaging the Jews in their open air prison camps, the British Parliament would be screaming to high heaven that ‘something must be done to stop it’… JD ]

First published … June 12, 2021

So Westminster has had its debate following a 385,000-strong petiton and the friends and admirers of apartheid Israel came out on top. How a person like Catherine McKinnell managed to secure the job of leading the discussion, I don’t quite understand. Here she is kicking it off.

“I am sure hon. Members will have shared the horror at the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets by Hamas from Gaza into Israel, and the Israeli actions that have killed Palestinian civilians.”

“More than half a million people have signed the two petitions. One petition calls on the Government to recognise Palestine as a state, while the other advocates the blocking of all trade between the UK and Israel. As vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel and a parliamentary supporter of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, I share the deeply held concerns for the plight of the Palestinian people.

Colleagues who have visited the region will know that the desire of the Palestinians to live in dignity and peace in a state of their own is unmistakable. Their aspiration for self-determination is one that we should wholeheartedly support; it is right for the Palestinian people, and it is right for the Israeli people.”

Hadn’t she heard the Israelis say Palestinians have no right to self-determination at all? Hadn’t she noticed they are bent on preventing it? And how can this woman seriously claim to be a friend of Palestine when she’s already a leading figure in a body promoting the interests of Israel and its jackboot occupation?

“I do not believe, however, that sweeping sanctions of the kind proposed by the second petition would bring the prospect of a two-state solution any closer…. Sanctions threaten to drive the two sides further apart, increase polarisation and extremism, and weaken the voices of Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers.

Blocking all trade between the UK and Israel would destroy our relations with Israel and reduce our influence in the Middle East. The only long-term sustainable solution to the conflict, and the only way that we can end the sporadic and sickening outbursts of violence, is for the two peoples of that beautiful land to have states of their own, with Israel safe, secure, and recognised within its borders, living alongside an independent Palestinian state.”

For a start, the two sides couldn’t be any further apart than they are now, and that’s without sanctions. And there are no Israeli peacemakers. They have made it abundantly clear they don’t want peace.

McKinnell seems to be saying that the UK’s trade prospects with the apartheid regime and influence in the region are far more important than freedom for the people of the Holy Land – freedom which Britain sold out a century ago.

‘Every civilian casualty is regrettable—a view also held, incidentally, by the Israel Defence Force’

Up popped John Howell, vice-chair of Conservative Friends of Israel. He began by congratulating the new Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, and Yair Lapid on forming a new Government in Israel and spouting about Israel’s vibrant democracy.

“It is regrettable that the petitions being debated today do not reflect the reality that Israel is a beacon of hope in a region of instability, and an important ally of the United Kingdom.”

The real world view is that Israel has blighted and destabilised the region and tormented the native Palestinians for the last 73 years.

“It is a simple fact that boycotts of Israel harm Palestinians, tens of thousands of whom work for Israeli companies on higher wages than they could earn elsewhere. The implications of blocking all trade and sanctioning Israel, as the petitions call for, are grave, not only for Israelis and Palestinians but for the British people. More than 500 Israeli companies operate in the UK, employing thousands of British workers. Before covid, UK-Israel trade reached more than £5 billion a year, and it continued to grow despite the pandemic.”

Righting a great wrong comes at a cost. The wise thing is to not sow the seeds of evil in the first place; and if you do, to nip it in the bud before it grows into the monster Israel has become.

“I welcome the Government’s firm opposition to Israeli boycotts…. The petitions were signed during the latest violence between Israel and Hamas, when Hamas targeted Israeli civilians and put Palestinians in harm’s way. Israel’s strikes in response to those indiscriminate attacks were, by contrast, precise, targeting only militants and terrorist infrastructure. Every civilian casualty is regrettable—a view also held, incidentally, by the Israel defence forces, but not, it would seem, by Hamas.”

Indeed, so precise were Israel’s strikes that they killed a mere 256 people including 66 children and 40 women, with only 2000 wounded of which over 600 were children. A whopping 13 people were killed in Israel.

‘Calling for Palestine to be free is calling for the ethnic cleansing of Israel’

Then we had to listen to Christian Wakeford, another clueless member of Conservative Friends of Israel. “While it is certainly politically expedient to call for the recognition of Palestine right now…. how can we recognise something when we cannot define it? What borders would it have, and without any real borders, is it really a state?”

What a dumb-ass. Palestinians, including Hamas, are settling for the pre-1967 Green Line which is the internationally recognised demarcation between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel didn’t declare borders when it called itself a state. It has deliberately kept its boundaries fluid so as to carry on expanding at the Palestinians’ expense.

Wakeford babbled on:

“The tone of the debate has been incredibly helpful in condemning the antisemitism on our streets. Does the Minister agree that every single Member in the House has a duty to do so, and when we see banners calling for Palestine to be free from the river to the sea—which is actively calling for the ethnic cleansing of Israel—we need to condemn that wholeheartedly? Will he make a statement in the House doing so?”

A stupid contribution when Israel is the ethnic cleanser dispossessing and exiling Palestinians from their own homeland since 1947 and still doing so.

Then it was Steve McCabe’s turn, proudly declaring himself as chair of Labour Friends of Apartheid Israel. On statehood he said: “Conditions for statehood in international law include an independent Government who exercise control over a defined territory. Those conditions are not met. The reality is that there are now two Palestines—one under weak Palestinian Authority control, and the other under Hamas military occupation.”

McCabe is confused. It’s Israel that does military occupations, not Hamas. And he ought to stick to the truth: Hamas won the last election fair and square according to international observers and would have been running the PA but for the US, UK and Israel conspiring to prevent it. Result? Bad losers Fatah run the PA without any legitimacy and without respect among Palestinians. Never mind, they have proved to be excellent puppets for the Axis of Evil.

McCabe continued:

“Are those who push for sanctions saying that they oppose Israel’s right to defend itself? Is it okay to live each day with the threat of an air raid siren? How would we feel if a bomb shelter was part of everyday planning requirements for a new home? How would we feel about going to bed with the threat of a tunnel attack occurring in the night?

Those who deny the threat from Hamas and the existence of its propaganda, and who fail to acknowledge the actions that it engages in, are making excuses for it. They are too willing to condemn Israel, and too ready to turn a blind eye to Hamas atrocities.”

Hilarious. He should try spending a few nights in Gaza. McCabe ought to know that it is the Palestinians who have the right, under international law, to defend themselves against the illegal occupier and to put up armed resistance if they can.

Enter the Middle East minister James Cleverly, who admitted that there had been many calls over the years for recognition of Palestinian statehood.

“The UK Government position is clear: the UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the object of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot, and will not, end the occupation. The UK Government continue to believe that without a negotiated peace agreement, the occupation, and the problems that come with it, will continue.”

They’ve been saying that for years. Nothing so far, not even ad nauseam peace talks, have ended the occupation. But it hasn’t dawned on them to try something else.… like sanctions.

Instead Cleverly wants a resumption of dialogue on economic issues and for the PA to return to Gaza and ensure that good governance is extended throughout the territories that will make up a future Palestinian state. Good governance is the last thing you’d associate with the PA.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and other locations in Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups. All countries, including Israel of course, have a legitimate right to self-defence and a right to defend their citizens from attack.”

How an illegal military occupier has a legitimate right of self defence against the very people it occupies and oppresses and murders is a puzzle that can only a warped mind like Cleverly’s can solve.

“On the second petition, we are firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions against Israel. We believe that open and honest discussions…. best support our efforts to progress the peace process and to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”

Well, that’s gone well over the decades, hasn’t it? Only 3 months ago Cleverly told the world: “Prior to my ministerial appointment I was a member of Conservative Friends of Israel.” Another contemptible stooge for apartheid then.

Ms McKinnell then wound up saying that the Government should examine what more they can do to disrupt the flow of rockets into Gaza. Not a word about disruptimng the flow of military stuff to Israel, of course. And not a word about law and justice.

So those who adore and defend the racist regime, and would continue to reward its crimes against humanity, still hold sway. The Seven Principles of Public Life state:

“Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work…. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.”

Seldom do we see this principle – Integrity – treated with quite such contempt. Meanwhile an EDM (Early Day Motion) has been tabled by Jim Shannon, a supporter of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel:

“That this House notes the appointment of Naftali Bennett to serve as the 13th Prime Minister of Israel; extends the best wishes of this House for a prosperous term as Prime Minister; acknowledges the difficult political situation that Israel has historically found herself in; and takes this opportunity to reaffirm our support for Israel as we reach out the hand of friendship to this new administration in the hope of a peaceful and prosperous future for Israel and the Middle East.”

Stuart Littlewood
17 June 2021

Author Details
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. With a lifelong passion for photography he has produced two photo-documentary books, one of which can be read online at www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.
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