William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Minister, recently spoke at Chatham House about 60 years of diplomatic relations between Britain and Israel.
If you want a perfect example of how Britain’s foreign policy has waivered dangerously over the years towards Israel then this speech is a must read.
On the surface Hague’s speech seemed as fluffy and diplomatic as ever towards Israel.
He begins talking about Israel’s undisputed right to exist and to self-defence and Britain’s firm opposition to those who delegitimise and boycott Israel.
But near the end of the speech he states the following that seems to totally condradict this expression of support:
“The British Government has made very clear our concern about ongoing settlement expansion. We believe it is illegal, an obstacle to peace and a threat to a two state solution.”
Two sentences that say so much.
First, I take issue with the word “settlement”. They are actually towns or cities but, admittedly, one wouldn’t expect Hague to do away with such an in-vogue term.
Second, either something is legal or it is illegal. Murder is illegal. One cannot believe that murder is illegal. It is illegal because the law says so.
But there is no law that says the “settlements” are illegal. I suspect Hague knows this, which is why he says he “believes” their expansion is illegal. Very diplomatic.
Nevertheless, Britain voted for last month’s resolution that stated the settlements to be illegal. The resolution was vetoed by America.
But by stating that he “believes” that “settlement expansion” is “illegal” Hague plays straight into the hands of the delegitimiers and boycotters who target Israel because of this alleged “illegality” (see the Ahava boycott).
Hague’s loose talk is boosting the campaigns of those who wish to tear down the Jewish state. Why does he insist on doing this and what are the Conservative Friends of Israel doing on this matter?
Moreover, it was Britain in the first place, via the Balfour Declaration, that said that Jewish people should live where the “settlements” are now, so unless a law is enacted to the contrary how can something Britain once defined as legal suddenly be considered “illegal”? Hague’s position is illogical.
And what has Hague got against “settlement expansion” anyway? British towns expand as of necessity, so why not Israeli “settlements”?
As for Hague referring to “settlement expansion” as being “an obstacle to peace”, even the Palestinians have accepted the “settlements”. See Palileaks. It is only Hamas they hinder because they block Hamas’ ultimate desire to destroy the Jewish state.
And as for Hague saying “settlement expansion” is “a threat to a two state solution”, well again this is just a load of baloney when the Palestinians will never sign a peace treaty with Israel in a million years even if the “settlements” were removed. We know what Hamas wants and Fatah are too scared of Hamas to ever sign a peace treaty with Israel.
In the same speech Hague gives an answer to the “settlement” conundrum when he talks of any peace deal involving “1967 borders with equivalent land swaps”. So why all this continued fuss over “settlement expansion”? The Palestinians will receive a 1:1 land swap in any eventual peace deal anyway.
Hague blathers on about the “settlement expansion”, but by doing so he is supporting the delegitimisation of Israel and of the settlers. And we have seen where delegitimisation of the settlers leads.
In his speech Hague did condemn the slaughter of the Fogel family in Itamar by two Palestinians. But he diluted the condemnation by referring to the loss of innocent life “on all sides”.
I don’t wish to see any innocent Palestinians killed but there is a huge difference between specifically targeting a three month old Israeli boy and slitting his throat and accidentally killing Palestinian civilians while in the process of trying to destroy Hamas positions to stop deadly rockets being launched into southern Israel.
If Hague really supports Israel’s right to self-defence then he should understand that the blame for the spilling of innocent Palestinian blood lies solely with Palestinian terrorists who fire rockets from civilian areas.
Israel does not target innocent civilians, but Hague’s attempt at moral equivalence infers that it does!
Honestly, has there ever been a Foreign Secretary as disingenuous as William Hague? Oh yes, David Miliband, his predecessor, who also spoke of Israel’s right to self-defence, but expelled an Israeli diplomat after Israel, probably, assassinated a Hamas terrorist in Dubai, and in circumstances in which not one civilian was killed or injured.