by Stuart Littlewood / July 3rd, 2010
Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg is Britain’s deputy
A month ago, while reports were coming in that Israeli gunboats had
“intercepted” the Free Gaza flotilla 90 miles out to sea and told the
humanitarian workers they would be boarded and towed to an Israeli port,
I emailed Clegg: “Where is the Royal Navy when it’s needed to protect
life and limb of the 30-odd British nationals?”
Ministers received advanced warning of Israel’s threats to stop the
flotilla “by any means”. What was needed was firm intervention. Just for
a change the British people wanted their government to do them proud on
the international stage and protect those brave souls on their peaceful
mission to bring relief to Palestinians whose lives have been made a
living hell by the bully-boys of the Middle East.
They were, after all, only doing the right thing… doing what the
West’s cowardly governments wet their pants at the very thought of
Back in December when the parties were warming up for the general
election, Clegg wrote in The Guardian:
…And what has the British government and the
international community done to lift the blockade? Next to nothing.
Tough-sounding declarations are issued at regular intervals but little
real pressure is applied. It is a scandal that the international
community has sat on its hands in the face of this unfolding crisis.
No doubt the febrile sensitivities of the Middle East have deterred
governments, caught between recriminations from both sides. No doubt
diplomats have warned that exerting pressure on Israel and Egypt may
complicate the peace process.
But surely the consequences of not lifting the blockade are far more
He certainly talked the talk. Would he walk the walk if given the
Well, he now has the chance, and his reply has just arrived.
The Government was very clear in its disapproval of the
Israeli actions which ended in such heavy and tragic loss of life.
We have underlined the need for a full, credible, impartial and
independent investigation into the events of 31 May. We have made clear
that we want to see a process that ensures full accountability and
commands the confidence of the international community, including
Israel’s announcement of an inquiry headed by former Supreme Court
judge Yaakov Tirkel is an important step forward. We welcome the
appointment of Lord Trimble as an international observer. Clearly it is
very important that this is a truly independent inquiry and a thorough
investigation that the international community can respect.
These events have captured the world’s attention, but they should not
be viewed in isolation. They arose from the unacceptable and
unsustainable blockade of Gaza, which is a cause of public concern here
in the United Kingdom and around the world. It has long been the view of
the Government that restrictions on Gaza should be lifted – a view
confirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 1860, which called for the
sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and called on states to alleviate
the humanitarian and economic situation persisting there.
It is essential that there is unfettered access – not only to meet
the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, but to enable the
reconstruction of homes and livelihoods and permit trade to take place.
The Palestinian economy, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, is an
essential part of a viable state of Palestine which we hope will one day
exist alongside Israel in peace and security.
A solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is firmly in the national
interests of the UK, as well as those in the region. We want the new
generation of Palestinians to grow up in hope, not despair… We want the
next generation of Israelis to live free from the fear of rocket fire…
Whilst we cannot deliver this for either side ourselves, as friends to
both Israelis and Palestinians we will seek to buttress the diplomatic
initiative of President Obama’s Administration and the proximity talks…
So no, he won’t walk the walk.
It is pointless calling for the blockade to be lifted. You have to
smash it… with warships “exercising” nearby. Israel’s promise to “ease”
it is purely cosmetic. I hear that incoming goods have risen by a
miserable 7 or 8% while the block on exports remains. That’s all the
West’s feeble hand-wringing has achieved.
Clegg’s choice of words is revealing… “the interception by Israeli
forces”. It was nothing less than a dead-of-night military assault with
guns blazing and a pre-planned execution of civilians on a wanted list.
His whole reply might as well have been scripted by Tel Aviv. It
probably was, because it turns out to be word for word the same as the
communication sent to other complainants by Israel’s great friend now
doubling as Britain’s under-secretary of state in charge of Middle East
affairs, Alistair Burt.
Clegg can call for “a full, credible, impartial and independent
investigation” until he’s blue in the face, but he won’t get one. He
welcomes the appointment of Trimble to this farce. Why? Trimble is a
founding member of a new international “Friends of Israel Initiative”.
The context for Israel’s crimes on the high seas is, of course, the
racist regime’s belief that it can act with impunity. It never gets
rapped for lawless conduct thanks to the abject failure of the
international community — especially Britain, whose mandated
responsibility Palestine once was — to enforce international and
maritime law and the numerous UN resolutions (not just 1860).
UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (America abstained on Israel’s
orders, according to Olmert) calls for the sustained reopening of
crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and
Access. There is still no sign of Israeli compliance.
Clegg claims that “we” are friends to both Israelis and Palestinians.
Bollox. British governments have spent the last 93 years betraying the
Palestinian people, and continue to do so while slavishly supporting the
Israeli regime in its programme of occupation, oppression, ethnic
cleansing and collective punishment. Our last government and now this
Coalition won’t even acknowledge the Palestinians’ right of
self-determination or their democratic choice of government. Britain, to
its shame, is complicit in those crimes.
To make matters worse, Labour and Conservative leaders are anxious to
change our laws of universal jurisdiction to provide a safe haven for
Israel’s killers while denying visas to Palestinian footballers.
And please, Mr Clegg, spare us this endless nonsense about rockets.
At least as many state of the art US-supplied Israeli missiles were
launched into Gaza, usually from US-supplied F-16s, as garden-shed
whizz-bangs were lobbed into Israel. And Israeli air-strikes and
armoured incursions continue on a daily basis. Furthermore, no rockets
come out of the West Bank, yet the West Bank continues to be occupied,
sealed and under severe movement restrictions. Clearly, this is not
about rockets or even about Hamas, which has already agreed to recognise
Israel within its pre-1967 borders in accordance with the international
It’s a well-known fact that America is a dishonest broker, so
aligning Britain with the puppet Obama’s diplomatic “initiative” simply
hands Israel even more time to establish irreversible facts on the
But the British public are wising up. They are beginning to know the
score. Prime minister Cameron is a self-declared Zionist. Foreign
secretary Hague has been a Friend of Israel since the age of 15.
Under-secretary of state Burt is not just a Friend of Israel but an
OFFICER of the Conservative Friends of Israel organisation.
The Knesset’s stooges roost happily in Westminster.
And Cameron has just put his name to a G8 leaders’ statement calling
for the release of captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, but not the
freeing of thousands of Palestinians abducted and rotting in Israeli
Burt, in his letter, talks of our pledge of £26.8 million for
humanitarian aid and early recovery activities in Gaza. Is that supposed
to purge our negligence? The Palestinians wouldn’t need £millions of
British taxpayers’ money year after year if they were left in peace. All
this aid simply subsidises and reinforces the Israeli occupation at our
(the public’s) expense.
Now that Clegg is in a position to actually kick government ass, I
hoped the Liberal Democrats would have a moderating effect on the rabid
Conservative Zionists who devote so much of their energies to the
service of Israel.
Instead, Nick and his party appear to have fallen in with them.