Cameron on Gaza is like a little boy arguing over a toy gun


Today we are all very disappointed in young David – or at least we should be.

As a ceasefire in Gaza collapsed with both sides blaming the other, Mr Cameron seemed to think the main issue was an entirely justified attack on him by Ed Miliband.

Mr Miliband, commenting on the UK’s abstention from a United Nations resolution that establishes a Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and demands that Israel ceases its military assaults and lifts the blockade of Gaza, said Cameron was “wrong” not to oppose Israel’s attacks.

The Labour leader made his position perfectly clear in a statement condemning all military and terrorist violence in the disputed area. He said Cameron had been “right to say that Hamas is an appalling terrorist organisation.

“Its wholly unjustified rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, as well as building of tunnels for terrorist purposes, show the organisation’s murderous intent and practice towards Israel and its citizens,” he said.

“But the prime minister is wrong not to have opposed Israel’s incursion into Gaza and his silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel’s military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally.”

A Downing Street spokesman responded: “The PM has been clear that both sides in the Gaza conflict need to observe a ceasefire. We are shocked that Ed Miliband would seek to misrepresent that position and play politics with such a serious issue.”

This is – of course – a misrepresentation of the government’s position. It is an attempt to whitewash the UK’s refusal to vote in the UN resolution out of the public consciousness. And it is an attempt to trivialise a serious conflict causing appalling loss of life – 1,700 in Gaza during the last three weeks.

The situation in Gaza is terribly complicated. Palestinian political organisation Hamas has governed the Gaza strip since 2007 after it won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament, but is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and the USA, amongst others.

States including Russia and China do not consider it to be terrorist but actions such as the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and the organisation’s creation of a tunnel network in order to carry out attacks on Israel mitigate against that belief.

That being said, Israel is a nation of vastly superior military might whose response appears wholly disproportionate – especially in the light of the Jewish people’s own history.

Persecuted for centuries until a decision was made for them to create a nation of their own in the land formerly known as Palestine, it seems clear that the new nation of Israel then set about the persecution of the Palestinian people who had formerly owned the land they had taken over.

It seems that Israeli politicians have learned nothing from their own history.

The matter is complicated by the fact that Palestine was a Muslim state, and Israel is surrounded by other Muslim states that vowed to drive the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea rather than tolerate a Hebrew state on their doorstep, so it would be accurate to say that there has never been any attempt at tolerance between these unwilling neighbours.

And the above is an extremely oversimplified attempt to explain the situation!

For David Cameron, though, it seems none of this is important. What’s important to him is that Ed Miliband showed him up for speaking against both Hamas and Israel, and failing to support this with action.

One final point: In the light of Mr Miliband’s condemnation of Israel, are there any silly people out there who still want to claim he is a Zionist?

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27 thoughts on “Cameron on Gaza is like a little boy arguing over a toy gun

  1. phillevans

    I am in almost 100% agreement with both you and (more amazingly) Mr Millipede.

    However there is one thing I am uncomfortable with which is the historical references.

    The nazis were a geographically located group of nasty bastards and stupid people from Germany in the 1930’s and they are very safely dead and gone now. Because of what they did and their insane targeting of jewish people, anyone likening a jew to a nazi can be (quite rightly) accused of anti-Semitism with impunity and no recourse to argument. The trouble is that this means that the argument or discussion is over right there.

    It is, of course, a very strong parallel which is relevant to the debate on the atrocities happening in Gaza. I frame it this way.

    The actions of both hamas and the knesset, over many years, have revealed them both to be fascist, militaristic and disregarding of the damage done to their own people. The government of israel use the language of self defence, a motivation denied to the people of Gaza, to quite unironically sustain a policy of lebensraum, of forced colonialism in already occupied lands.

    We have, as a country, had to come to terms with that just saying “I am not a racist but…” doesnt get you out of jail. We have had to learn that in certain subjects, words and phrases are important. This is another case of that.

    1. Support

      I’m a little confused as I didn’t use any historical references to Nazism.
      I would agree with everything you say here.

      1. phillevans

        Bloody hell, you didnt did you? This has got me so upset I have become another grouch on the internet with a stick up his arse 🙁 My profuse apologies sir and a promise to read more carefully in future! *blush*

  2. amnesiaclinic

    I think it exposes the bankruptcy of this administration. It is, as you rightly say a very difficult situation that is complicated in the extreme. Tensions run very high but in the end there has to be a peaceful solution. Pressing for an immediate arms embargo is the priority and then working with the Palestinians and those in the Knesset who are interested in long-term peace is one way forward. Barghouti is a very promising advocate for peace and co-operation but there seems to be very little appetite for peace on the Israeli side which is why it is so frustrating that the US and the UK are so blatantly supportive of Israel in the way it is targeting women and children in what is virtually an open air prison.
    Another way forward as well as supporting the immediate embargo of weapons to Israel is supporting BDS. I recommend you visit the website and stop buying the goods supporting Israel or made in the occupied territories on stolen land and find another bank. People power can make a huge difference.

  3. Tony Bennett

    The easiest explanation of the troubles in this area I have heard was on the news by a gentleman at a protest against the war. He explained it as, “How would you react if a large group of people invaded your home, threw you out of it and made you live in the garden shed – which they then padlocked and only supplied you with the bare minimum of electricity, water and food to survive on and refused to allow you to leave?”

    This is the core reason behind most of the present troubles and will continue forever if a solution isn’t found. Israel won the war in 1967 but now refuses to return to its own borders and give back the land it now occupies. The longer it goes on, the harder it will be for a peaceful solution to be found.

    The only country in the world that could make a difference is the US. They supply the weapons and money Israel needs to wage this war but no president would ever dare to as much as threaten this arrangement, let alone stop it till the Israeli government sat down and had meaningful talks with Hamas.

  4. Johnny Tranquilo

    Israel were instrumental in the creation and financing of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Muslim Brotherhood, and its many manifestations like Hamas, Al Qaeda and bin Laden, serve as an ever-present and manufactured “terrorist” threat, used constantly as a pretext to justify repressive measures at home and expanded imperialistic objectives abroad.

    Because, despite all the rhetoric about the threat of “political Islam”, unbeknownst to the general public, the manipulation of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the world is still a mainstay of American foreign policy.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s worth publishing this comment just to remind everybody that assertions such as these MUST be accompanied by factual evidence.
      I’m not asking anybody to bomb the site with reams and reams of information – just a link (or list of links) to locations where we can read it for ourselves will be fine.
      No supporting information means your comment won’t be approved.
      So let’s have your references, Johnny.

      1. casalealex

        Maybe the following are worth a read:
        Israel Created Two of Its Own Worst Enemies—Hamas and Hezbollah
        Israel and the U.S. CREATED Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda
        How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas

  5. Jim Campbell

    A couple of quick links to support the claim that Israel was happy to use Hamas to undermine more moderate Palestinian factions as part of its divide-and-rule strategy…

    “Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.”

    “According to Zeev Sternell, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Israel thought that it was a smart ploy to push the Islamists against the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)”.”

  6. aturtle05

    Well, of course the UK abstained on the Human Rights vote, the Con-Dem government don’t believe people are entitled to them, even their own people.

    If Israel are in the right, how come so much of the land ceded to them by the UN in 1947 has expanded into the Palestinian areas? Oh, there isn’t much of that left.

    Lebensraum was one of the things that led to the creation. indirectly, of the state of Israel, why are they following the route of their former oppressors? (Godwin’s Law does not apply as it’s historical fact)

  7. casalealex

    It beggars belief, that the Zionist descendents of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust of the 1940s could in turn cause the wholesale slaughter of a people who were forced to give up their land to accommodate their homelessness. Then to blatantly dispossess the indigenous people, taking their land, ghettoising them, etc, and now putting up a finger to the world, whilst they callously adopt their own Final Solution on the Palestinians.

  8. thoughtfullyprepping

    I am reminded that we’re coming up to an election. The day after whoever wins will be on the phone to everyone they have slagged off as the worst humans in the world to reassure them that it’ll be business as normal and whatever deals were in place will continue unabated.

    Such is the hypocrisy of UK politics.

  9. Colin M. Taylor

    He’s torn down the middle: on one hand, he feels he must side with Israel because ‘It’s the Only Democracy in the region” (Translates to We have to keep the Rothschilds and the Americans on side) but he doesn’t dare upset the Arabs because they have Oil and tend to buy lots of of Advanced Weapons Systems – which they tend to pay for in said Oil.

  10. Strangely

    “The situation in Gaza is terribly complicated.”
    – er, no it’s not. It is ethnic cleansing, a genocide, the stealing of land and water for decades.

    What would we in the UK do if this map below was the UK, and all we had left to live in was the dark green bits. Suppose it was some …er… Bolivians, returning to their ancestral homeland as they saw written in some old book of theirs… that had stolen all our land and water and all becuase the world at large felt guilty about the genocide of Bolivians during a South American war which turned into a world war?.

    (No offence to Bolivians – it’s just a way to represent to anachronism of Israel and its robbing murderous behaviour – I choose Chile if the comparison offends)

    IMHO, the Palestinians have been remarkably tolerant. I could not be so tolerant by a long chalk if it happened here.

    1. Support

      You’re missing out a huge amount of information about the attitude of Muslims to the Jews there, you know.
      It IS complicated. Labelling it as a simple land grab by Israel does a huge injustice to the seriousness of the problem.

      1. phillevans

        One cant put a label on this clusterf*** *without* doing it an injustice. It isn’t a war, which implies an army on both sides. It isn’t a matter of defence because the people doing the defending are killing more than the people doing the aggression and have been for years. It isn’t a police action because they are two separate nation states with different legal codes. It isn’t about democracy versus totalitarianism because both sides were elected in free and fair elections. It isn’t even about freedom versus fascism because, like it or not, both sides are fascist statists using theocratic bulls**t to justify atrocity. Actually, thinking about it, calling it a land grab is probably the closest thing to a *useful* label I have heard since this whole gods-haunted abomination began to roll.

  11. Florence

    Israel was formed after a vicious terrorist organisation – the Irgun – bombed the British out The Irgun were far-right Zionists, and it was these that the adjacent Arab nations had problems with. Jews had always lived throughout the middle east, generally in harmony with their neighbours. The formation of the state of Israel, however just following the Holocaust, was poorly done and created many injustices that still form the problems we see now. The right wing is again in charge. The Israelis also assassinated the Palestinian political leadership over a generation until they got what was left – Hamas.

    Gaza is the largest prison in the world. The Israelis only allow in enough food to meet the basic nutritional needs calculated by calorific value of their estimated population. Tunnels have been used for terrorism, yes, but they have also been used to move food and other essentials in, taking absolute control away from the Israelis. It may help to understand that oil & mineral reserves have been found off the coast, and yes, some will fall in Gaza coastal waters, which would actually give them an income for things like State Building.
    The war is totally asymmetric – 5,000 home-made rockets, vs the best defence system money can buy, 55,000 of the finest USA munitions rained down on the civilian population without any form of defence. It is simply barbaric and must be stopped. If the UN can take charge then it should, but war crimes must be punished, and not allowed to hide behind the rhetoric of righteousness on either side, but must not be allowed to be asymmetric too.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I had never heard of the Irgun before this comment. Not sure whether to believe it… and then there’s the issue of Jewish people living in Israel who are NOT behind the ill-treatment of Palestinians. They’re not all rampant right-wing Zionists, you know!
      Your information is fascinating but I would not want it to be used to oversimplify the issue.

      1. Florence

        Totally agree, and I know for sure there are all sorts of opinion in all countries. It’s just that the right-wing has the upper hand in Israel at present, apparently. Reports from the peace movement have highlighted the dwindling numbers at their meetings, and the hostility to anyone voicing opposition to the current offensive. It’s so sad. It is very hard to present any information without writing a thousand pages, and still not be able to present an opinion that someone would not seem to be offended. The historical accounts of Irgun and Stern Gang terrorist activities can be found widely on the web, so I won’t try & steer to any one particular article – again, it’s the nuances of opinion we are all tip-toeing around. Menachem Begin was one of the leaders of both organisations. Theirs was a terrorist campaign in response to British repression of Arab and Jewish alike in the colonial land of Palestine before WWII, and the Arab uprising 1936 – 1939. It was also a response to the British intent on having a shared power Arab/ Israeli state in Palestine.

        But the Palestinians have a genuine cause to be able to have land to live on and form a state. That has never been incompatible with the existence of an Israeli state either. Both are politically possible, as was the basis of the Oslo accord. The pressing matter now is the immense imbalance between the two parties, and the rejection of the Oslo accord by Netanyahu effectively stating that there would be no division of land between the two parties, and only the state of Israel should exist. The human suffering there is beyond any of us to understand. The sight of a dignified and grieving man trying to collect the bits of his baby boy from a bomb site to have enough to bury is one I will never forget. So I get your requirement not to have hostilities and such break out on your blog, and I had no intention of over-simplifying matters. However, as the adage goes, one mans terrorist is another’s’ freedom fighter, e.g. Maggie call Nelson Mandela a terrorist. The Palestinians are fighting to survive, and the failure of Cameron to even back the UN vote is inexcusable. So to cut to the chase, I agree with Miliband in his criticism of the lack of leadership from Cameron on this issue. The failure to call for a ceasefire is seen internationally as a reflection on the political views of the UK population. Personally, I feel this diminishes us all.

      2. Support

        I agree very strongly with your last point there.

        As an aside, is anyone else reading this old enough to remember Binyamin Netanyahu’s many, many appearances on breakfast TV interviews, back in the 1980s? I was a teenager at the time and, even though I knew a lot less about Israel than I do now (and I still don’t know anything like enough) one thing I did know was that this man is trouble.

  12. JC

    ….”as the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and the organisation’s creation of a tunnel network in order to carry out attacks on Israel mitigate against that belief”.

    Really? So when an an illegally expanding occupying force continues to bulldoze Palestinian homes, steal Palestinian land and build ‘Jews Only’ illegal settlements on Palestinian land what do you expect Hamas to do exactly? Because every time this issue gets heard at the UN one country repeatedly uses it’s veto to stop any action taking place against Israel’s illegal expansionism. The UN has stated quite clearly for years now that what Israel is doing is illegal. If the so called ‘international community’ is not going to reign in the racist apartheid ‘state’ of Israel then the Palestinians have no option but to fight, what else are they supposed to do? where else are they supposed to go?

    Also if having tunnels and rockets automatically puts you into the ‘terrorist’ bracket, how many rockets have the US and UK dropped on men, women and children in over half a dozen countries since the new millennium began alone? Difference is the Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans, Somalians, Yemenis, Pakistanis etc haven’t been forcefully removing US and UK citizens from their homes, building apartheid settlements and stealing their land. Those condemning Hamas as a terrorist organisation have more blood on their hands bar none.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m not condoning what has happened in the UN. I’m certainly not condoning recent British military adventures. Nor am I supporting Israel’s side. I’m merely pointing out the truth in the old adage that “two wrongs don’t make a right” – they just make matters even more wrong.

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