“Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis” William Hague said at the end of last week. Throughout the course of the Israel/Palestine conflict the UK government has licensed the sale of millions of pounds worth of arms to Israel, including key components for F-16 fighter jets. This equipment has been, and will continue to be deployed in the illegally occupied Palestinian Territories. What a surprise therefore that Hague lays the blame on the current round of air strikes (currently an all out Israeli air strike on Gaza killing, to date, 113 Palestinians including 54 civilians. Some 840 people have also been wounded, including 225 children) firmly on Hamas.
So, starting on Wednesday last week Hamas launched missiles into Israel, apparently killing three civilians and wounding a further four. The debate on whether Hamas was right in its actions is almost inconsequential. Despite its past and reputation, for a terrorist organisation Hamas has, for years, been non-confrontational, seemingly accepting Israeli rule within Palestinian borders without conflict. Wrongly (for it is a war it cannot win), Hamas is now once again fighting back. Now, with the Israeli elections looming nearer, Prime Mimister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying, “In recent days and weeks, Hamas and the other terrorist organisations in Gaza have made normal life impossible for over 1 million Israelis. No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire.”
What a fucking joke. Except it isn’t. As well as the ‘conspiracy theorists’ saying “Israeli PM resorts to terror to win re-election” possibly being an alarmist truth, since the 1990s especially, normal life for your average Palestinian has been a living hell, trapped inside their ever-decreasing, illegally-occupied home. Since Israel was founded in 1948 and Britain relinquished Palestine to the UN (when approximately two thirds of the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims, were expelled to become refugees), Britain has done nothing to repair the suffering it has caused to the Palestinians. Successive British administrations have avoided repairing this injustice by making statements of goodwill instead of taking actions to end the Israeli occupation and support the Palestinian right to self-determination. Why? Money talks.
What else has our Foreign Secretary said this week? “I am pleased that Israel has held back from a ground invasion while such negotiations go on, and that the rate of rocket attacks on Israel has fallen, for whatever reason, over the last 24 hours. These are positive developments, but of course it remains a desperately serious and difficult situation”. Come again. The rate of rocket attacks on Israel has fallen? Oh, my sides. Hague, the man who at aged 15 joined the Conservative Friends of Israel (try finding a Conservative Friends of Palestine, although funnily enough there is a Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine) might just have his connections with the Israeli money men in mind.
But surely it isn’t just a simple case of money? Of course not, the issues over Israel and Palestine are due to far more than that, but as soon as we (The West) become involved, money talks. Since World War II Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S foreign assistance. To date, the United States has provided Israel $115 billion in bilateral assistance, almost all of which is in the form of military assistance. The Israelis have made themselves useful to the those who occupy important positions in the Pentagon, NATO, China, the UK and other ‘leading’ nations. My concern, as U.S ‘heavyweight’ Hilary Clinton is en route to the Middle East in an attempt to broker a ceasefire, is that any negotiations are, more than ever weighted on the side of the Israelis. The U.S, Britain and other western governments are apparently urging Israel not to mount an assault similar to Operation Cast Lead, in which 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza were killed four years ago. Maybe a ‘compromise’ can take place. But what else do Palestinians have left to compromise?
Peace talks? No. Money talks and blood spills.