Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide Albion (let us attack perfidious Albion in its waters) — Marquis de Ximenès, 1793
Britain didn’t do well by the Jews of the pre-state yishuv, and the relationship is not so great today. For example, take the recent remarks of British Foreign Secretary William Hague:
“Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region,” Hague said in an interview with the [Times of London].
“This should not be a time for belligerent language,” Hague argued when asked about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu call to prepare for “any outcome” and comments that he would “reinforce the might of the State of Israel” should it prove necessary.
Hmm… perhaps, living on an island as he does, Mr. Hague doesn’t understand. Suppose by some tectonic magic Scotland were to be suddenly replaced by Germany. Suppose that the friendly German government were overthrown, the future uncertain. And then suppose that a large number of Germans, perhaps a majority, supported a neo-Nazi party that called for the destruction of England. Netanyahu belligerent? I’d call him prudent.
“It is a time to inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process,” the foreign secretary told the Times. He called for “strong leadership from the US” and “equally bold steps by Israelis and Palestinians.”
Hague said Israel’s stance on settlement activities in the West Bank was “disappointing” and that peace may become “impossible” within a few years.
I am always bemused when someone argues that Israel must hurry up and make a deal with the Palestinian Authority because otherwise Palestinian Arabs will lose patience and allow ‘extremists’ to take over. Then, they say, it will be too late. But what if Israel does make a deal, gives up Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, and then Hamas takes over anyway? It’s not like a ‘peace’ agreement that does not include all of Israel would satisfy Hamas.
Hague is not the dumbest of Brits, not by a long shot. Consider Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the former British Ambassador to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan (I did not make up his name). Among other things, he said that Israel should have accepted “the peace that has been on offer essentially since 1937 when the Peel Commission recommended partition…” Well, duh, Sir Sherard, the Jews did accept (with considerable misgiving) the Peel Commission proposal for a tiny, attenuated Jewish state.
And they also accepted the UN partition resolution of 1947, as well as proposing partition themselves in 2000 and yet again in 2008. Guess who rejected all of these proposals? There’s no prize for a correct answer.
But no matter how hostile and uninformed British officials may be, they can’t hold a candle to some segments of the press. For example, The Guardian’s policy seems to be to support and promote the racist, terrorist Hamas organization. The website “Just Journalism” did a devastating study of Guardian coverage of the ‘Palestine Papers’, which showed that
– The Guardian’s handling of the Palestine papers story demonstrated a preference for a hardline Palestinian stance over one of moderation, best illustrated by their call for Hamas to be brought into the diplomatic process and their hosting an opinion piece by the group calling for action.
– Content of the documents attesting to Israel’s efforts and desire for peace were downplayed or ignored; in particular, the content of Olmert’s 2008 offer was not reported and a key quote was elided.
– The Guardian scandalised Palestinian negotiators’ acceptance that Palestinians would not be admitted en mass [sic] as part of a two-state solution.
– The newspaper strongly implied that it does not accept Israel as a Jewish state and would maintain this position in the event of the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
– The Palestinian offer to allow Israel to retain most of its settlements in east Jerusalem was treated as an outrage, when such an arrangement would be in line with the 2000 Clinton Parameters.
– The Guardian treated any outcome on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif other than total Arab control as a betrayal of the Muslim world, despite the site’s place as the holiest site in Judaism.