Dr Liam Fox, Shadow Defence Secretary (pictured), contributes a comment piece in the Daily Telegraph today on the Israeli general election and the ‘Tragedy of Israel’.
Dr Fox writes:
‘Last week I visited Karni, one of the main crossing points between Israel and Gaza. Or at least it should be. Karni is a purpose built facility designed to handle goods and freight moving between the two. At its peak it processed 900 lorries a day. Now it sits eerily silent and the supplies in Gaza depleted as a resulted of suicide bombers targeting lorry drivers and terminal workers.
‘Close to the terminal is the main fuel dump from where tankers take fuel into Gaza. Less than two hours before I arrived it was mortared by Hamas and consequently closed. Although it opened again later in the day, it is another example of how the welfare of ordinary citizens in Gaza is far from the top priority of their political masters.’
While Dr Fox writes at length of the various obstacles placed on the path to Palestinian prosperity by Hamas, he makes no mention of the 18 month blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza causing immense distress and suffering to the ‘ordinary citizens of Gaza’. And of the destruction heaped on the narrow strip of land by the Israeli army’s horrific bombardment, he writes:
‘Israel has an undoubted right to defend its citizens and its territory, but as the front line of the democratic states, it has an obligation to observe the highest standards of international law and ethics. The tactics used by the Israeli military is a source of much soul searching and questioning among many of the voters I spoke to. Israel should welcome investigations into allegations about its conduct of the conflict.’
It is a travesty that while Dr Fox details at length the crimes he complains Hamas has committed and whose victims are the Gazan people, the crimes of Israel that similarly affect prospects for long term peace merit this one sentence above.
Where are the paragraphs on the illegal settlements that Israel has advanced in the West Bank? Where is the condemnation for the illegal blockade that denied the people of Gaza essential food and medicine before the bombardment began? Where is the outrage on Israel’s construction of an Apartheid Wall in the West Bank?
Dr Fox portrays Hamas as an organization that violates the rights of Israelis to live securely in Israel. Reciprocally, should there not be equal criticism of Israel’s undermining the rights of Palestinians to live securely within the pre-1967 borders, as UN resolutions insist?
‘[T]he wider world needs to realise that as long as Hamas, a movement rather than a government, remain in power with their implacable opposition to Israel’s existence nothing will change. They will import more deadly Iranian rockets reaching further into Israel, hitting new Israeli cities and the cycle will repeat itself.’
How ignominious that he has not the courage to write that as long as Israel continues to ignore UN resolutions on withdrawing from the Occupied Territories, as long as it continues to treat the Palestinian people with the disdain of a colonial power, as long as it refuses to accept and uphold the rights of Palestinians to live in security and dignity, then too nothing will change.
This kind of biased, one sided commentary was preponderant during the Israeli offensive in Gaza. And while we would expect this sort of thing from Israeli spokespeople, it is disgraceful to see an MP cite by rote Israeli lines that present only one side of this tragedy.
Readers of the piece have posted these comments online:
‘This makes no sense.
In a democracy, in the final analysis, you must put responsibility with the people voting and supporting its institutions. Otherwise, all the talk of the merits of democracy is rubbish.
The people pretty much get the goverment they deserve in any democratic state.
What people fail to realize is that democracies are not automatically decent forms of government. A majority with bad intentions can indefinitely impose its will.
Only a bill or charter of rights offers some protection against such majority abuse, but Israel does not have one, nor is it likely that it ever will with religious definitions governing many aspects of its society.
It truly does not matter much who is elected in Israel. The choice of a woman who worked with Olmert is hardly promising. He is surely a war criminal by any reasonable, meaningful definition.
Olmert launched a savage bout of killing just so his party could have election bona fides.
As to Lieberman, he is quite rightly characterized as a fascist. Were this any place but Israel, the world's press would be saying just that.
Netanyahu has a long record of inflammatory statements and corrosively negative attitudes. He is a dark, unpleasant figure, altogether. More than once, he has openly expressed contempt for Arabs.
It is generally put that Israel has moved to the right, but I rather think it is more accurate to say that Israel has moved into darkness.
I don't know how it could be more clear that Israelis do not want a just peace.
Of, yes, if asked about peace in general in polls, they say yes, but peace in general is a meaningless abstraction. Genuine peace has to be qualified by all the small print.
I wonder how many readers are aware that while Olmert was killing maybe 400 children in Gaza, there was heavy activity in the West Bank seizing more of other people's land?
Recent revelations through Google maps demonstrate the intensity of Israel's continuing efforts to seize land through informal settlements.
Other revelations through government papers demonstrate clearly the government's quiet collusion in such illegal and unethical efforts.
We will have peace if Israel is prepared to return to its 1967 borders, but there is not the least indication that that is likely or even possible.
But peace isn't just borders, it is treating your neighbors with respect and decency, but we see no sign of this from Israel, and it is Israel that holds all the cards.’
‘I am sorry to be abusive but really this is crash rubbish.
That Israel's democratic system by way of proportional representation is as deeply flawed today as it was when Ben Gurion feared its effects, the best that can be said is there is clearly no majority in Israel for a settlement. A settlement would require ending the occupation, allowing the free flow of goods if not via Israel then via the Mediterranean, Egypt and Jordan and a new airport, a return to borders of 1947 and an end to assassinations and kidnap from any country they choose by Mosad in the shape of Vanunu type atrocities.
When the IDF tells us it was Hamas that killed the 400 children and 300 women by deploying US made and paid for battlefield technology in a civilian population zone, sadly they make the case for the Nazi occupiers who argued that the murder of the hostages their forces shot in order to intimidate the Resistance was the fault of the Resistance movement and its supporters. ‘
‘Liam Fox's comment shows one thing only. The only people he bothered to speak to where the Israelis. In his lop-sided view, they are the only one who exist. After a siege that has lasted for 18 months and resulted in starving the Gaza population and destroying a generation of Palestinian children, the only thing that Liam Fox can come up with is 'blame Hamas'. this is exactely what Israeli representatives say, but I don't expect a British MP to mindlessly ape them. Why didn't he speak to any Palestinians? Why didn't he go into Gaza and see the suffering for himself? No, it is not Hamas that is to blame, it is Israel. For illegally occupying Palestinian land, ethnic cleansing, house demolitions, phosphorus shells and racism for over 60 years. The question here is : why does Liam Fox support all these crimes?’
‘Other pro-Israeli commentators do not paint Hamas as black as this by any means.At the end of the day,the slaughter that the IDF inflicted on the innocent ordinary people of Gaza was appalling and manifestly wrong in the eyes of ordinary Britains.Israeli right-wing politicians have consistently sabotaged peace efforts in the cause of the land grab.Christians no longer believe articles like this one so typical of Jewish journalists righting in UK newspapers.’
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