The British government announced yesterday that if hostilities resume in Gaza after the ceasefire ends, it will suspend some of its arms exports to Israel over concerns, and I’m not making this up, that the British-made products could be used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). This would include military radar, tanks, and combat aircraft.
According to an article in The Guardian, Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have held out against an immediate suspension of exports to Israel, which has angered many in the coalition government, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable. In an article in today’s The Times of Israel, Joshua Davidovich reported that a number of politicians and activists in Britain had pushed for a full arms embargo on Israel regardless of whether fighting resumed again or not.
It appears many in Britain, along with much of the rest of the world, have bought into the idea that Israel is in the wrong and is persecuting and slaughtering the Palestinians in Gaza. In fact, just the opposite is true.
While watching discussion in Parliament earlier today, I was struck at the anti-Israeli sentiment that is present. One example was Sir Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat, of Colchester, who said, “Will the minister confirm that if the foreign secretary last week, when he was the defense secretary, had ordered British troops to fire on civilian communities in the way the Israelis have, he would be guilty of a war crime?”
Or Andy McDonald, Labour Party, of Middlesbrough, who said, “Last week, four boys… aged seven to eleven years, had been playing hide-and-seek amongst the fishermen’s huts at the Gaza City harbour, when as they ran on the beach their bodies were ripped to shreds in an instant by an incoming Israeli shell. What threat did those little boys pose to Israeli security, and will the minister condemn the murderous behaviour of Israel as completely disproportionate and a crime against humanity?”
There’s an old maxim that goes something like “Tell ’em. Then tell ’em again. Then tell ’em what you told ’em. Then keep telling ’em.” We’ve all heard the news reports and commentary about the Palestinians; the concern for them, the downtrodden, the victimized, and all the women and children killed by the IDF. Especially the children. Just mention the dead and injured children and it will get the public’s attention every time. In fact, we’ve heard it ad nauseam. How dare the IDF, big mean bully that they are, slaughter children and other civilians? Why, they’re just as bad as the Nazi SS stormtroopers. Right?
Wrong. True, there have been civilian deaths in Gaza – lots of them. And worse still, lots of the casualties have been kids. But in case you didn’t know, or worse still, have been turning a blind eye, it’s by the design and intent of Hamas that it’s happening. The IDF has done everything in their power to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza, but Hamas intentionally builds their tunnels and launches their rockets from heavily populated civilian neighborhoods.
The IDF has tried to work around this by dropping leaflets and even making telephone calls to residents of Gaza to warn them to evacuate the area because an attack is coming soon, but Hamas extolls them to stay and be human shields. And I think many of them want to be human shields; they want to do everything possible to make Israel look bad and turn the tide of world opinion against her. These are, after all, the same innocent civilians that danced in the streets grinning from ear to ear after news spread of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Thousands of Americans killed in an instant, and the Palestinians’ reaction was to dance in glee.
But for Hamas and the “innocent” Palestinians, the strategy is working. Israel has been vilified in the world press lately to a greater degree than ever before, and people all over the world are buying it. Whereas thirteen years ago Palestinians were dancing in the streets of Gaza, now they’re crying into the cameras, and it’s working. It’s working.
Great Britain isn’t under direct threat of attack at the moment, but Israel is, and their existence is tenuous and relies only on their rapid response to threats from Hamas or anyone else. They didn’t want this, and it’s completely disingenuous for the US, the UK, or anyone else to condemn Israel for their actions. Believe me, if we were in their place, we would be doing the same thing. The MPs in Parliament should remember this and take it to heart – because as Israel goes, so go all of us. We should be thankful for Israel’s existence and give them all the aid they need in maintaining that existence. But not only that, we should be grateful to them for continuing to be our friend and ally even though we’ve often treated them like so much dirt under our feet.
As I write this, there is about an hour left before the ceasefire officially ends. Care to place bets on who fires the first shots after the ceasefire?