UK Government must share what help it’s giving to Israel

It’s 20 years since Scotland was taken into a war in Iraq which was predicated on lies and deceit. Weapons of mass destruction and imminent Armageddon were said to be the basis of it and yet were proven to be fiction. Hundreds of thousands across the country had marched and demanded peace but were simply ignored. Millions died and the world has been made a far less safe place. The consequences are still with us today with terrorism and refugees.

Then it was Tony Blair acting as sidekick to US President George W Bush. My colleague Neale Hanvey MP was right to raise the issue in Parliament last week. Forensically detailing the documentation uncovered by Declassified UK disclosing the legal advice which was given and yet blatantly ignored. Blair’s guilt must neither be forgotten nor forgiven.

But now another crisis stalks our globe in the genocide that’s unfolding in Gaza, and the wider injustice in Palestine. The pictures shown on our TV screens are horrific enough. Though it has to be said that watching Al Jazeera rather than BBC or ITV news shows an even more gruesome picture. As a Parliamentarian I’ve seen footage shown by the Palestinian Ambassador and international aid agencies and the reality is much, much worse. It’s a sanitised, if not slanted image that we’re being given.

This time it’s the Tories who are in charge but yet again the British Establishment are acting as one. And again both actions are being taken that are not in our name and the truth is not being told. The UKs abstention at the United Nations Security Council was shameful. The call was doomed due to the United States veto but failing to stand against what is a war crime being perpetrated was appalling.

Failing to support a ceasefire’s bad enough. But we cannot have any complicity in the atrocity being perpetrated in Gaza yet we’re veering dangerously towards that. It’s bad enough that armaments have been supplied. They may not directly be the weapons of war, but they form part of them. Ejection seats may seem benign but when they’re installed in fighter jets, it’s a different matter entirely. And the inventory’s lengthy.

The UN vote was though simply replicating the Tory Labour Alliance in Westminster where a ceasefire has been opposed and supplanted by the weasel words of a humanitarian pause. But what does that mean? The limited pause of course saw some respite and the release of some hostages. But this isn’t a conflict between two competing armies. There cannot be a modern-day equivalent of a Xmas truce in the trenches. Some fraternisation between soldiers before the horror all recommences.

This is war by a modern sophisticated army against a civilian population and in a very small area where they’ve been told to flee yet afforded no sanctuary when there. The target ostensibly may be Hamas but the crossfire is across the entire field of vision. It’s civilians not Hamas fighters who are dying in their thousands. We are about to celebrate the birth of a child in a manger in Bethlehem. Yet two millennia on but only some 40 miles down the road, children are dying in hospitals in Gaza through the absence of basic health care.

Of course, the Hamas attack of 7th October has to be condemned unreservedly and its accepted that all nations have the right to defend themselves. But this has gone way beyond defence or legitimate attack. It’s entirely disproportionate and is now becoming an atrocity. But as with 20 years ago the actions being taken by the UK Government are “not in our name” and the obfuscation and lack of answers as to UK involvement are similar.

Why have 500 additional UK military personnel been deployed to Cyprus where there’s already a substantial contingent. Questions as to whether they’re special forces meet the usual refusal to answer on their whereabouts or actions. Initially questions regarding the use of RAF Arkotiri in Cyprus for involvement with Israel were subject to a Ministry of Defence block. When they failed to renew it after a recess and a question was sneaked in under the radar and more has been coming out. But more worryingly much is still not being told.

RAF Arkotiri has seen many flights made by UK military to Israel but much of who, what and why they’re travelling isn’t disclosed. Similarly, the US military are being allowed to use it and they are supplying Israel. Despite repeated questions as what it is they’re providing; we’re not being told. It’s not just UK citizens but the Government of the Republic of Cyprus who are being kept in the dark. This is denying us and endangering them.

We’ve been told that unarmed UK surveillance drones are being flown over Gaza for the purpose of locating hostages. No one can object to that. But when pressed on what other information might be gathered and to whom it might be given it results in obfuscation and weasel words. It’s simply not good enough that this might be supplied to the Israeli Defence Forces.

Military aid has been provided to Israel but the answer was that it was restricted to medical supplies. But this wasn’t vaccinations for children or replacement hips for the elderly. Instead, it could only be described as medical equipment for combat zones. That isn’t humanitarian aid even if the life of an Israeli soldier is as precious as a Palestinian child. We simply shouldn’t be assisting them in being there but should insisting on them getting out.

It seems clear that Israel is intent on clearing the Palestinians from Gaza and in any event the rubble that remains will make civil life impossible. This is becoming a second Nakba and it needs stopped. Sunak must cease being supine to both Israel and President Biden who can stop this. We must not be complicit as Blair was with Bush on Iraq. This is not in our name.

  • Everyone
  • content-news
  • member