…by Stuart Littlewood, Scotland
[ Editor Emeritus Note: Stu gives us an inside peek into Britain’s trying political times, that are certainly not on the sad scale of things here in the US, but similar in that the Political mobs in both countries at times appear to be ‘enemies of the people’.
So far, no white knights enter state left to save us, but only new grifters with new promises of change where all we get is a new face, followed by another national disgrace.
Stu has long been a staunch advocate of Palestinian rights, which continue to be denied to them due to a rogues gallery of UN sycophants too afraid of their own shadows to take on the Israeli Lobby that has its hooks deep into the political structures and more, of the allegedly free world… Jim W. Dean ]
First published … August 16, 2022
There’s nothing quite so deplorable as trying to defend the indefensible. And the UK Government have been caught out by a simple, sensible petition which calls for a review UK foreign policy in light of reports of Israeli apartheid.
It said: “The Government must review UK foreign policy towards Israel, taking into account the conclusions by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, that Israel is implementing a system of apartheid against Palestinians.”
The Government has dismissed it with the usual inept excuses set out in a response from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office that might as well have been penned by Tel Aviv.
• The UK is committed to advancing the Middle East Peace Process. We are aware of these reports, and do not agree with the terminology used within them.
A pointless remark as they don’t say which terminology they don’t agree with or why. Perhaps they just don’t understand the definition of ‘apartheid’.
• The UK’s position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear and longstanding: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees. Resuming meaningful bilateral negotiations, with international support, is the best way of getting to an agreement.
UK and UN have been saying this for decades and we’re no further forward. Agreement is highly unlikely when one party is in flagrant and continual breach of international and humanitarian law and thinks it is doing no wrong.
• We believe that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between Israelis and Palestinians. The UK has urged the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to work together to meet their obligations under the Oslo Accords, and to work towards a sustainable solution to the conflict. We also call on all parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law and to promote peace, stability and security.
In other words, negotiations with Israel holding a gun to the Palestinians’ head. The Oslo Accords date back to 1993 and 1995 and Israel just laughs at its obligations. Until International Humanitarian Law is actually enforced there will be no peace.
• As a friend of Israel, we have a regular dialogue with the Government of Israel. This includes encouraging the Israeli government to do all it can to uphold the values of equality for all. Minister for the Middle East, Amanda Milling, emphasised this point in her recent meeting with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Roll during her visit to Israel and the OPTs.
Israel has no friends outside a tiny group of higly placed individuals who have allowed themselves to be bamboozled or bribed by the Israel lobby. Being a friend of Israel means embracing all that Israel stands for – apartheid, brutal oppression of its neigbours, theft of their lands and resources, disregard for all norms of decency.
Apartheid is the antithesis of equality. Being a friend of Israel implicates the UK Government in Israel’s foul and endless crimes. The minister, Amanda Milling ought to examine Israel’s nation-state laws before spouting any more nonsense.
• During this visit, Minister Milling also met Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh, Foreign Minister Riyad al Malki and Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Hussein Al Sheikh, and emphasised the UK’s commitment to supporting the capacity of the Palestinian Authority.
The PA and PLO have little legitimacy given that they haven’t held full and fair elections since 2006 when Hamas (inconveniently) won and were promptly sidelined.
• The security situation on the ground is fragile. We urge Israel to exercise restraint and avoid taking unilateral actions that make peace more difficult to achieve. In our dialogue with the Israeli authorities we have recognised their legitimate need to deploy security measures. Where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations.
Same old bollox, urging Israelis to “exercise restraint”. They don’t know the meaning of the word. And how “transparent” have any of their self-investigations been?
• The UK remains resolute in its commitment to Israel’s security. The people of Israel deserve to live free from the scourge of terrorism and antisemitic incitement, which gravely undermine the prospects for a two-state solution. We were appalled by the recent terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. There can be no justification for such acts of violence. Every Israeli and Palestinian has the right to live in peace and security.
Since when was an armed invader and illegal occupier pursuing racist and apartheid policies entitled to peace and quiet? The Israeli state was founded on terror, expulsion at gunpoint, and massacre. It declared to borders so that it could expand indefinitely. Under international law there is every justification for the Palestinians to use whatever means are available, including armed resistance, against the illegal occupier and destroyer of their homeland.
• In line with the UK’s longstanding position, our development programmes in the OPTs work to preserve the prospect of a negotiated two-state solution and to improve the lives of Palestinians throughout the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The UK remains committed to supporting development in the OPTs and our work includes technical assistance to support the capacity of the Palestinian Authority, economic development programming to support growth and stability, and humanitarian assistance for Gaza.
No improvement in the lives of Palestinians whether in the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem is detectable. And why spend all this money on development programmes when the Palestinians could easily thrive in their homeland if allowed their freedom and right to self-determination. The UK Government continues to stand against their rights while championing Israeli rights.
• The UK has made its position on sanctions clear. We are firmly opposed to boycotts/sanctions in this case. We believe that imposing sanctions or boycotts on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would not support our efforts to progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution. Peace will only come through negotiations between the parties.
Israel trades on the knowledge that it can act with impunity, and this statement by the UK Government confirms that there will be no consequences for its vile conduct and disregard for coventions or laws that get in the way of its territorial ambitions. In short, the UK Government’s efforts have been, and still are, too feeble to deter Israel from continuing its crimewave.
• The UK has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism. For example, we have voted against resolutions under, and pressed for, the abolition of Item 7 – the standalone item focused on Israel at the Human Rights Council. In line with this policy, the UK voted against the resolution establishing the Commission of Inquiry (COI) following the May 2021 Gaza conflict. The UK could not support an investigation that furthered the Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel by under an overly expansive mandate.
Here is Wikipedia’s account of that conflict:
Palestinians in East Jerusalem began protesting over an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel on the eviction of six Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Under international law, the area, effectively annexed by Israel in 1980, is a part of the Palestinian Territories; Israel applies its laws there. On 7 May, according to Israel’s Channel 12, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli police forces, who then stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound using tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades. The crisis prompted protests around the world as well as official reactions from world leaders.
The violence coincided with Qadr Night (8 May), observed by Muslims, and Jerusalem Day (9–10 May), an Israeli national holiday. The confrontations occurred ahead of a planned Jerusalem Day parade known as the Dance of Flags by far-right Jewish nationalists, which was later canceled. More than 600 people were injured, mostly Palestinians, drawing international condemnation. Israel’s Supreme Court ruling on evictions from Sheikh Jarrah was then delayed for 30 days as Avichai Mandelblit, the erstwhile attorney general of Israel, sought to reduce tensions.
On the afternoon of 10 May, Hamas gave Israel an ultimatum to withdraw its security forces from both the Temple Mount complex and Sheikh Jarrah by 6 p.m. When the ultimatum expired without a response, both Hamas and PIJ launched rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel; some of these rockets hit Israeli residences and a school. Israel then began a campaign of airstrikes against Gaza; by 16 May, some 950 targeted attacks had demolished, completely or partially: 18 buildings, including four high-rise towers; 40 schools and four hospitals; and also struck the al-Shati refugee camp. Additionally, at least 19 medical facilities were damaged or destroyed by the Israeli bombardment. By 17 May, the United Nations estimated that Israeli airstrikes had destroyed 94 buildings in Gaza, comprising 461 housing and commercial units, including the al-Jalaa Highrise; housing offices of the Associated Press, the Al Jazeera Media Network, and other news outlets; and 60 condominiums.
As a result of the violence, at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed (including at least seven from friendly fire). In Israel, at least 13 people were killed, including two children. The Gaza Ministry of Health reported that more than 1,900 Palestinians were injured, and as of 12 May, at least 200 Israelis were reported to have been injured. As of 19 May, at least 72,000 Palestinians have been displaced. Around 4,360 Palestinian rockets were fired towards Israel, of which 680 landed within the Gaza Strip, and over 90 percent of rockets bound towards populated areas were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome. Israel conducted around 1,500 aerial, land, and sea strikes on the Gaza Strip. Calls for a ceasefire were first proposed on 13 May by Hamas, but rejected by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On 18 May, France, along with Egypt and Jordan, announced the filing of a United Nations Security Council resolution for a ceasefire. Egypt mediated a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which came into effect on 21 May 2021, ending 11 days of fighting in which both sides claimed victory.
Does the Foreign Office dispute this account? Funny the UK Government talks of bias when it comes to Israel. Why on earth would it block a Commission of Inquiry if not because of its own bias towards Israel and determination to shield the apartheid regime from punishment?
• We continue to support balanced resolutions, including resolutions at the UN General Assembly focused on the two-state solution, settlements, demolitions and Palestinian self-determination. We will not hold back from voicing or raising concern about Israel’s actions when warranted.
“Voicing concern” is a waste of time. What about all the other UN resolutions calling for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territory and returning Palestinians to their homes? The two-state solution is long dead thanks to refusal to enforce international law which has allowed the Israelis the impunity to establish ‘facts on the ground’ that would be difficult to dismantle. How incredible that the UK clings to such a ‘solution’ unless it’s to buy even more time for Israel to complete its Zionist plan to annex the Holy Land.
• Israel’s long-standing commitment to democratic values is one of its great strengths as a fellow democracy, and we continue to make clear that a strong, vibrant civil society is in Israel’s own interest. As a friend of Israel, we would be concerned by any developments that may undermine this commitment.
Laughable. Israel is no western-style democracy, it’s a thoroughly nasty ethnocracy with warped laws and rotten behaviour to match. Why aren’t the UK equally committed to the Palestinians having “a strong, vibrant civil society”?
• The situation on the ground demonstrates the urgent need to make progress towards peace. We are actively working to encourage the parties to address the drivers of conflict. The UK remains committed to the two-state solution as the best way to bring peace and stability to the region and ensure a comprehensive and permanent solution to the conflict.
For over 70 years the situation on the ground has demanded peace. The two-state solution has been touted as the best way forward for as long as any of us can remember but never comes anywhere near to being achieved.
One of the chief drivers of conflict is the lack of consequences for the aggressor, Israel, which sees this as a permanent green light to do as it pleases. A comprehensive and permanent end to the conflict requires justice, and that’s what has been lacking throughout.
9 August 2022
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 councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books – Paperturn-view.com.
Also, check out Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper. It tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and explains to me why the Zionists who control Israel should be brought before the International Criminal Court.