Tuesday, February 22, 2011

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Wednesday, 9th February 2011

Melanie Philips


I have previously noted (here, here and here) that the Cameron government is shaping up to be one of the most hostile towards Israel in living memory. David Cameron himself and Foreign Secretary William Hague have consistently treated Hamas propaganda about casualty figures in any war with Israel as reliable, even though they are invariably a pack of lies, and have furthermore astoundingly replicated the Arab strategy of turning Israeli self-defence into aggression at every opportunity. While he was in opposition, Hague infamously condemned Israel’s behaviour during the 2006 war in Lebanon as ‘disproportionate’; Cameron himself condemned Israel for its ‘attack’ on the Turkish terrorist boat the Mavi Marmara and designated Gaza a ‘prison camp’.

Now Hague is at it again. With the Arab world convulsed by the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt and with the acute danger that such instability will result in the region lurching even further into Islamic theocratic tyranny, the British Foreign Secretary’s response is – to bash Israel. Never mind that the uproar in Egypt and Tunisia, along with the nervousness in Jordan and Saudi Arabia that their regimes may also be swept away by rising extremism, demonstrates the utter absurdity of the claim that regional tranquillity depends on resolving the issue of ‘Palestine’. Hague makes a point of declaring that the casualty of the unrest will be... the Middle East peace process.

Never mind that this process has stalled because Abbas and co won’t even negotiate. Never mind that even these so-called ‘moderates’ insist they will never accept Israel as a Jewish state, and thus refuse to renounce their nine-decade long war of extermination against the Jewish presence in the land. Never mind that they continue to incite their people and their children to hate Jews and murder Israelis. Hague knows that Israel is to blame. As the Times (£) reports:
The Middle East peace process is in danger of becoming a casualty of the revolutionary tidal wave sweeping the Arab world, and Israel is putting itself at risk by failing to compromise, William Hague told The Times yesterday. Speaking on an emergency peace mission covering five countries in three days, the Foreign Secretary issued a blunt instruction to Israel to tone down the belligerent language used by Binyamin Netanyahu, its Prime Minister, since the uprising and protests, which have spread from Tunisia to Egypt and beyond.

... Mr Hague responded to increasingly militaristic pronouncements by Mr Netanyahu, who has been urging his nation to prepare for ‘any outcome’ and vowing to ‘reinforce the might of the state of Israel’. The Foreign Secretary said: ‘This should not be a time for belligerent language. It’s a time to inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process.’

Belligerent? Israel is currently petrified that, if Islamists come to power in Egypt and tear up its 30-year old peace treaty as the Muslim Brothers have said they will do, it will face the nightmare of a renewed threat of war from the south as well as from Iran/Hezbollah in the north and Iran/Hamas in Gaza. It will be thus encircled by truly ‘belligerent ‘ enemies. It will have to turn its entire military and strategic thinking upside down in order to defend itself against such a grim prospect – and yes, of course it will have to reinforce its defences. Even more young Israelis will have to be called up to army service and face the risk of death to prevent their country from being wiped off the map. For William Hague to represent the warnings by Israel’s Prime Minister that his country must now prepare itself for this terrifying eventuality as ‘belligerency’ is simply obscene.
Let us hear no more nauseating hypocrisy from Cameron or Hague about how they are Israel’s staunch allies.

With ‘friends’ like these, who needs enemies?

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