|Volume 51 Number 17, May 29, 2021||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
The British Government's Permanent Representative at the UN recently made a statement concerning the current violence in Israel and the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories, including the Zionist regime's savage bombardment of Gaza. The government makes little effort to disguise its support for Israel, since although it condemns violence in general, demanding "that this cycle of violence must end", it only condemns the armed resistance of Hamas, the Palestinian organisation governing Gaza. According to the British government, Hamas is a "terrorist group", and it therefore condemns so-called "acts of terrorism" carried out in defence of the Palestinian people, whose homeland has been taken from them and whose territory is occupied by a foreign aggressor.
Zionist Israel, on the other hand is not condemned by the government for its state terrorism which, as the whole world has seen, is unleashed with scores of jet fighters, tanks and other weapons of mass destruction, largely supplied by Britain and its allies. Indeed, as the Campaign Against the Arms Trade has documented, British governments have supported Israel's acquisition of British-manufactured arms for over fifty years, particularly since the illegal occupation of Palestinian land in 1967. British monopolies such as BAE systems also work closely with US monopolies to supply arms to Israel, including helicopters and jet fighters. According to the British government, Israel "has a legitimate right to self-defence", while the Palestinian people and Hamas do not. From this perspective, the government cries crocodile tears concerning the hundreds of deaths, including over sixty children, well over one thousand wounded and many thousands who have lost their homes in Gaza. It calls merely for Israel to act in line with international law, which since 1967 it has never done, as even the government is forced to acknowledge.
In regard to international law, it cannot be forgotten that Boris Johnson's government only a few weeks ago firmly opposed plans for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israeli war crimes carried out in the Occupied Territories since 2014. The Zionist regime referred to ICC's investigation as "undiluted antisemitism", a clear indication of how that term is now being employed. While professing to be one of the "strongest supporters" of the ICC, the Prime Minister stated that "we oppose the ICC's investigation into war crimes in Palestine. We do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state." He added that "this investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK's". The ICC has already determined that its jurisdiction extends "to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem".
In response, the Palestinian Mission in London called the Prime Minister's stance "deeply regrettable". It pointed out that Palestine is a signatory to the Rome Statute, and "it has every right to pursue claims on behalf of victims of war crimes at the Court". The statement added that Johnson's position "subverts the rules-based global order. And it sets back efforts to secure a lasting and just peace in Palestine." The Mission statement points out that Israel's illegal settlements "are a violation of international law and therefore a war crime". Furthermore, it argues that Britain "has a historic responsibility for the Palestinian people, having been instrumental in creating the problem in the first place". The Palestinian Mission concludes: "It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement that gives carte blanche to Israel to continue its illegal settlement project in occupied territory, and signals to Israel that no matter its actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in occupied territory, it will not be held to account."
Thirteen British charities also condemned the position of the government, including Christian Aid, War on Want, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, and Quakers in Britain. In a joint statement they condemned "political interference by states" such as Britain. The statement adds, "Providing impartial justice and ending decades of impunity would bring the prospect of lasting peace closer and would signal an end to the suffering endured by generations across the region."
What is clear is that successive British governments and their allies, not least US imperialism, have aided and supported the state terrorism of Zionist Israel, which has for so long denied the Palestinian people their legitimate rights as a nation.