Harriet Sherwood summed up the British Foreign Secretary’s two day visit to Israel last week in an article which raises quite a few questions with regard to the British government’s policies and attitudes towards Israel, in addition to those already prompted by David Cameron’s “prison camp” remarks made in Ankara.
First, however, let’s take a look at some of the comments prompted by this article. A significant proportion of them seemed to accept unquestioningly Hague’s dubious axiom whereby the so-called ‘window of opportunity’ for a two-state solution to the conflict is closing, and duly leapt in with their own suggestion – the somewhat hackneyed ‘one-state solution’.
Obviously ‘NoNukesPlease’ has never heard of this institution in Jerusalem.
That seems to sound like a threat of violence.
And then we had the (later deleted) somewhat theologically challenged, if appropriately monikered, ‘Dumbo 3’.
And finally, someone who appears to be taking things very personally:
Obviously ‘Mark Thomason’ is unaware of the legal basis for the instigation of a maritime blockade. Then again, the same seems to be true of the British Prime Minister, whose unfortunate outpourings in Ankara represent official British Government policy, as William Hague made quite clear to the Israeli public in an interview he gave to Israel’s Channel 10 news during his recent visit.
The question which needs to be asked, of course, is what exactly does the British Foreign Secretary really mean to say when he talks about the closing of a ‘window of opportunity’? Upon what basis does he make this claim and why does he make it? Is he in fact engineering a situation in which the somewhat inevitable failure of the current round of negotiations would be laid exclusively at Israel’s door? By putting so much of the onus for potential failure upon the extension of the expired building moratorium, it certainly looks that way. Neither in Sherwood’s article nor throughout Hague’s visit in Israel did we hear any mention at all of his opinion on the subject of Palestinian responsibilities for the continuation of talks.
If Mr. Hague really thinks that the viability of a two-state solution is coming to a close is he in fact, like those CiF commentators above, convinced that the future lies in a one-state ‘solution’ which would automatically compromise Jewish self-determination and lead to the end of the Jewish State? Or is Hague rather subtly threatening us with the possible lending of British support to the PA/OIC instigated maneuver already being embroidered in the corridors of the United Nations Security Council designed to bring about an imposed ‘solution’ to the issue which would inevitably completely by-pass the issue of Israel’s security?
In typical diplomatic fashion the picture is at present unclear; no official statement has been made either way and one doubts very much that one will be. However, Hague’s recent visit to Israel, along with the British Government’s foot-dragging over the issue of universal jurisdiction and Cameron’s ridiculously uninformed remarks in Turkey are a great cause of concern to all those both in the UK and in Israel who had hoped that Britain would adopt a more sane stance on Middle East policy under Tory rule.
Hague’s decision to meet and express solidarity with the ‘Popular Struggle Co-ordination Committee’ was nothing short of bizarre from a diplomatic standpoint. Responsible for injuries to hundreds of members of Israel’s security forces and for hundreds of thousands of shekels-worth of damage to property, these BDS-supporting extremists who claim to act “in the tradition of the first Intifada” and oppose any territorial compromise , try to destroy the anti-terrorist fence which has saved countless Israeli lives since its construction, as well as apparently trying to whitewash cases of the abuse of foreign nationals who support them. In other words, their credentials as promoters of human rights are far from impeccable.
In William Hague’s own country stone-throwers are classified as ‘yobs’ or ‘mobs’ and are dealt with by the police, who appear to be very much aware of the potential dangers of such violent behavior and prosecute accordingly. Absurdly, Hague appears to see no wrong in providing stone-throwers in somebody else’s country with the media exposure and legitimacy that a meeting with a foreign dignitary supplies. In addition, the British Government can tell us till the proverbial cows come home that they oppose BDS and are committed to the security of Israel’s civilian population, but actions such as this one by Hague only serve to undermine any possible belief in such statements.
Of course whatever prestige the stone-throwers gained from Hague’s visit, the British Government lost. The Israeli people are hearing you loud and clear, London, and your credibility is yet again waning fast.