Statements made by Ed Miliband and his Shadow Foreign Minister, Douglas Alexander at the Labour Party Conference on Monday, September 22, were appalling for their one-sided bias against Israel.
Although they paid lip service to a condemnation of “Hamas rockets and the terrorization of civilian populations” the only use of the word “illegal” was in reference to Israeli building, and the only use of the word “immoral” was for settlements, which they described as being done “on other peoples land.”
No room for doubt or uncertainty there. No consideration for a view that the land belongs, both historically and legally, to Israel under international law dating back to 1922 and beyond. No mention of the fact that this is enshrined in the United Nations Charter, including the reference to “close Jewish settlement” of the land. All that, and more, was wiped away by a Labour leadership that ignores facts and history, overlooks Palestinian crimes and rejectionism, in favour of condemning Israel of criminality.
Further, they denounced Israel’s need to enter Gaza for what they called “an Israeli invasion…to perpetuate the cycle of violence, tragedy, and loss of innocent life.”
No mention of the necessity to eradicate the Palestinian terror attack tunnels, to denude Hamas of their rocket stockpile, or to eradicate one thousand two hundred Gaza-based terrorists who threatened and murdered Israeli civilians for decades.
Their moral equivalency has tilted so radically that their language reflects a world in which Palestinians are naughty for firing rockets and for murdering Israeli civilians, including babies and teenagers, while Israel is criminal for building houses on land that is legitimately under its control, despite them claiming otherwise.
Let Miliband and Alexander go back to the statute books and do some revision. Let them start by reading the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, then proceed to the UN Charter Article 80. They should finish off by reading the wording of the Oslo Accords to which Britain was a witness and guarantor. All these preserve and define Israel’s legitimacy to act in the territories.
Instead, their blind, dogmatic, left-wing, failed Two-State notion has fossilized the Israel-Palestinian conflict for far too long.
Demanding that Israel surrender more territory is not a potion for peace. It is a remedy for further violence. Israel sees what Miliband fails to see, that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea & Samaria will follow the pattern of our evacuation from Gaza. We removed ourselves from every settlement, we forcefully evicted thousands of Jews, handed over an agricultural oasis to the Palestinians and, in return, got suicide bombers, rockets, and terror tunnels.
Will Miliband guarantee that this will not happen should Israel listen to his ill-advise and withdraw from the Samarian and Judean hills, leaving Hamas to take over the West Bank, by ballot or by bullet, as they did in the Gaza Strip?
Britain may lurch to the left in the next general election but, following recent experiences both by the Palestinian Authority and from Hamas, Israel has moved right of centre with the vast majority of Israelis totally distrusting Palestinian intentions, and deeply cynical of politicians such as Miliband.
If Miliband wants peace let him task his Labour Friends of Palestine to produce a reformed and pragmatic Hamas and to persuade the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to recognize the right of the Jewish people to live in peace in the Land of Israel.
For, if there is a monster in the room, it is not an Israeli building his home in Maale Adumim or Ariel, it is the monster of Hamas terrorism, the rejectionism of Mahmoud Abbas, and the rapid anti-Semitism of them both that is the major obstacle to peace.
Based on recent statements by Miliband and Alexander, a future Labour-led Britain can contribute nothing to peace, neither for Israel, nor for the Palestinians.
Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’ www.israelnarrative.com
He is also the Consultant on Delegitimisation Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College in Israel.