By Stuart Littlewood
Last week a stomach-churning love-in was conducted between the British Government and the racist state of Israel at Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The theme was ‘Sixty Years of British-Israeli Diplomatic Relations’.
Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague, in his keynote address said the UK’s relationship with Israel goes far beyond the realm of diplomatic relations. “It is based on bonds between families and communities as well as shared values and common interests. Israel is a friend and a strategic partner of this country in the Middle East, and we are very grateful for that."
Dear reader, you can see where this is leading. You are strongly advised to have a sick-bag ready…
"…This Government is firmly opposed to those who seek to deligitimise Israel, and… we are firmly opposed to boycotts," continued Hague. "It is my personal hope that the ties between Britain and Israel will thrive and grow even stronger in the future than they are today. When I sent our excellent new Ambassador to Israel I gave him very clear instructions to work to advance the peace process and to build the best possible relationship with Israel.”
Does he have the electorate’s approval for this tosh? Was aiding and defending a belligerent foreign power and serial abuser of human rights in the Conservative Party election manifesto? No, this is a private agenda for which Hague and Cameron have no mandate.
"In the last six months we have launched a UK/Israel Life Sciences Council, a UK/Israel Regenerative Medicine fund, a major push to promote links between our high tech economies and a new Film Treaty to expand our cultural cooperation. In 2010 trade between the two countries went up 30% compared to the year before."
And what, you may be asking, has lawless Israel done to deserve these rewards?
Equally strange is why Mr Hague is such an adoring fan and has been since his schooldays. Could it have been Miss Israel winning the Miss Universe title in 1976 that fired up the impressionable 15 year-old?
Or was it boyish hero-worship of the terrorists who created the Israeli state… like Tzipi Livni’s father, a saboteur and chief operations officer of the Irgun terror outfit?
The speech continued with the usual childish attempt to demonise Iran. "Iran’s treatment of its own people, as well as its attitude to Israel and posturing in the region show that it would be a disaster to let Iran acquire nuclear weapons," said Hague, omitting to mention the hundreds of nuclear warheads already in the hands of Israel’s delinquent leaders. "Iran should therefore not doubt the resolve of the international community to address the concerns about its nuclear programme. We and our partners will be working hard over the coming months to increase the pressure on Iran to negotiate seriously."
Negotiate what? Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is more than can be said for Israel, a rogue state that’s bristling with nukes and a serious menace not only to the region but also Europe. Has the IAEA actually established a divergence in Iran’s nuclear programme from civil into military?
"To conclude," said Hague, "I never forget that Israel is a country that has been repeatedly attacked through its brief history, that has been at war with all its neighbours for some of its history and with some of its neighbours for all of its history.”
He was clearly determined to induce what our Australian friends with their customary delicacy refer to as a ‘technicolor yawn’. "I remember that Israel has been shelled repeatedly from Gaza and from Lebanon and that it has suffered grievously from terrorism. And I am deeply conscious why the Jewish people – of all peoples – have cause to believe that they must look after themselves, and never rely on others to keep them safe."
A 4-times increase in Jews-only squatter units on stolen Palestinian land.
Naturally Israel’s president Shimon Peres was in town for the occasion. Earlier in the day he met prime-minister David Cameron. On leaving Downing Street after their discussions Peres told reporters: "Britain and Israel see eye-to-eye in their support for freedom-seeking people in the Middle East."
This happened to be the day when the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a report showing that in 2010 Israel built 6,794 Jewish-only housing units on occupied Palestinian land, four times more than in 2009.
As Messrs Hague and Peres know perfectly well, under the Fourth Geneva Convention it is illegal for an occupying power to transfer its population into territory it occupies.
The report also notes that Israel’s separation wall has confiscated around 733 square kilometers of Palestinian land in the West Bank. Israel says it’s to prevent attacks, but the wall’s route runs deep inside the West Bank, often as far as 22 kilometers according to the UN. Land between the wall and the ‘Green Line’ has been used for illegal Israeli settlements and military bases.
As most people now realise, the wall is carefully routed to enclose and steal the Palestinians’ precious water resources.
And while US President Obama says Israeli settlement building is an obstacle to peace, his administration vetoes UN resolutions condemning it. How confused can the poor guy get?
In the week leading up to the love-fest, according to the Palestine Centre for Human Rights, the Israeli Occupation Force conducted 52 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two into the Gaza Strip. The IOF arrested 27 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children, then moved into Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and arrested 18 Palestinian civilians.
Israel continued its total siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Gaza Strip. The IOF carried on its settlement activities in the West Bank while Israeli squatters under its protection continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. The IOF, laughingly claimed to be “the most moral army in the world”, even destroyed 3 water wells in Bethlehem.
Netanyahu Throws another Tantrum
This gathering of Israel’s gruesome groupies also coincided with the Israeli government’s threat to the UN Security Council and the EU that it would resort to “unilateral countermeasures” if the international community dared to recognise Palestine as an independent state at the UN General Assembly session next September.
Tel Aviv sent a classified cable to more than 30 Israeli embassies abroad ordering them to lodge diplomatic protests at the highest possible level in response to Palestinian efforts to secure long-overdue international recognition of statehood within generally accepted 1967 borders.
Cameron and Hague would have known about this before the Chatham House tryst. There can be few spectacles more contemptible than ministers of the British crown canoodling with a thuggish regime that has trampled the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for 63 years, plundered and subjugated the Holy Land, and now throws a tantrum at the prospect of being thwarted in its ambition to deprive its neighbours of their freedom, their lands and their resources permanently.
Are these really the people with whom Hague and other elected servants of the British public enjoy "shared values and common interests"?
Last week also saw the House of Commons pass plans to enable the British government to block arrests of war crimes suspects. In future the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will have to be sought before a court can consider issuing an arrest warrant, instead of allowing a senior District Judge to issue one if presented with sufficient evidence. This politicises the whole process, enabling the DPP, following advice from the Attorney General, to block the arrest of war crimes suspects arriving from ‘friendly’ countries. If the measure passes the House of Lords we can say goodbye to the impartial and transparent application of the law.
A handful of honourable MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Cruddas, Kate Hoey, Glenda Jackson, Rt Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman, Caroline Lucas and John McDonnell, voted against the change. The rest were happy to shame us by shirking Britain’s obligation under the Geneva Convention to ensure there’s no hiding place for war crimes vermin.
Peres, on many people’s ‘wanted’ list for crimes against humanity and for questioning about the Qana massacre, was warmly welcomed in Downing Street and Chatham House.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.