Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Britain hymns Middle East democracy -- except the one it throws under the bus

Melanie Phillips

While the British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Egypt hymning the prospect there of democracy and human rights (which looks increasingly as if it’s destined to remain merely a pipe-dream in the minds of western ostriches) what has been overlooked is that this same David Cameron has chosen this of all moments to push the one and only democracy in the region, Israel, under the Islamist bus. While America finally vetoed the UN motion slamming Israel’s ‘illegal’ settlements because it went too far even for Obama, Britain voted in favour. In the Times this morning, Rachel Sylvester wrote:

The sense of powerlessness may be one reason why there was deep frustration at the Foreign Office and No 10 when the Americans last week vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Britain voted in favour. It was, says a minister, ‘a defining moment, that shows the UK’s readiness to express its independence’. It was also a chance for Britain to be seen to be doing something that might help to stabilise an otherwise dangerously volatile region that has the potential to destabilise the whole world because of its oil reserves.


Let’s get out heads round this one, shall we?

The wording of the motion is, first of all, malicious slander. Israeli building in the disputed territories is not illegal. Nor is it illegitimate. Israel is legally and morally entitled to be there. This was first enshrined in the terms of the Mandate for Palestine which required Britain as the Mandatory power to settle the Jews throughout these lands, a right which has never been abrogated in law.

Israel’s entitlement is further underscored by the terms of UN resolution 242 following the 1967 war, which in accordance with the precepts of international law do not require it to give up these areas unless the belligerents stop making war upon it. Which they have not. If anyone has acted illegally over the years, it was Jordan and Egypt for illegally occupying Judea, Samaria and Gaza -- and Britain, whose historical record of breaking its internationally binding treaty obligations to the Jews in pre-war Palestine paved the way for the current Middle East impasse by rewarding genocidal aggression and punishing its victims, a pattern which it is shamefully continuing today.

Worse still, the motion was sponsored by Lebanon. Lebanon is now controlled by Hezbollah, a genocidal, Jew-hating organisation which is committed to war against Israel and is controlled in turn by Iran. Britain has thus voted for a Hezbollah/Iran-backed motion. And it has done so at a time when, to any sane person not in the grip of the anti-Israel bigotry now defining the west, it is blindingly obvious that Israel is the one and only reliable strategic ally in the region against the jihad.

Yet at the precise moment when there is a terrible risk (to put it conservatively) that the ferment in the Arab world will end up replacing autocratic tyrannies which to some extent at least helped the west by Islamist tyrannies pledged to destroy the west, Cameron’s government has chosen to put the boot into the region’s sole democracy and the west’s sole strategic asset.

When the UN shows once again its spectacularly malign and bigoted double standards by tabling a resolution condemning Israel while remaining silent about the atrocities taking place in Libya, Iran, Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen and other Muslim countries, Britain (along with France and Germany, eviscerated here by Anne Bayefsky and Benjamin Weinthal) chooses to ally itself with these tyrannies who have long rendered the UN’s moral authority totally nugatory.

This is even more astonishing because, while at the political level the Cameron administration has now become the British government most hostile to Israel in living memory, at the military and intelligence level it’s a very different picture. Israel remains extraordinarily important to Britain for intelligence and military co-operation to help defeat those who threaten British security. Of course – Israel is a vital strategic asset for the west. So Britain sucks greedily at the Israeli intelligence teat while simultaneously kicking Israel’s head in – and as a consequence offering up Britain’s own throat to be cut.

Anyone got a psychiatric term for this behaviour?

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