The House of Commons Palestine vote
– A well meant but futile gesture
For me the most depressing thing about the debate in the British House of Commons on a non-binding motion to recognise Palestine as a state alongside Israel was that all MPs who participated, including those who made informed and honest contributions, still seem to believe that a two-state solution is possible. It isn’t.
One MP, Crispin Blunt, a Conservative and one of the two chairmen of the Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group, went some way to indicate why it isn’t but he didn’t complete the journey. He said, “The settlers are a problem for any Israeli government.”
The reality behind that statement was defined for me as far back as 1980 by Shimon Peres when he accepted me as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between him and Arafat. (The full story of that initiative is told in The Blood Oath, Chapter 12 of Volume Three of the American edition of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews).
Though he welcomed the initiative Peres said he feared it was “already too late” (for a two-state solution). I asked him why. He replied:
“Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin is not stupid. He knows exactly what he is doing. He is stuffing the West Bank with settlers to create the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Israeli prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot large numbers of Jews out of the West Bank.” Pause. “I’m not.”
The question I would put to all British MPs (and elected members of parliaments everywhere) is this.
If it was too late in 1980 when they were only about 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers on the occupied West Bank, how much more too late is it today when there are about 600,000, with that number rising on an almost daily basis?
There is a case for saying that if ever the governments of the U.S. and Western Europe indicated that they were prepared to subject Israel to real pressure (isolation and sanctions) to try to cause it to end the occupation, a significant number of illegal Jewish settlers would be prepared to take their leave of the West Bank in return for compensation; but very many would not. So, as Egypt’s President Sadat said to me a few months before he was assassinated, “For there to be peace, there has to be a Jewish civil war.” In principle that’s the case but it will not happen for the reason Peres gave me all those years ago.
Another aspect of the unreality of the House Commons debate was the assumption and assertion of virtually everyone who participated that “peace can only come through negotiations.” The reality this ignores is that Zionism is not interested in good faith negotiations to produce an acceptable amount of justice for the Palestinians. Zionism is committed to obtaining for keeps the maximum amount of land with the minimum number of Arabs on it.
The question the British House of Commons (and parliaments everywhere) ought to be debating is this.
Are we to go on allowing Israel to defy international law or not?
It was not at all surprising that Conservative MPs who are content to read from Zionism’s script spoke the most nonsense.
One of them, British-born, Jewish Robert Halfon, a former Political Director of Conservative Friends of Israel and currently Principal Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, said “the Palestinians already have a state – Jordan.”
He also asserted that if Israel did not have the Iron Dome, “hundreds of thousands” of Israelis would have been killed by Hamas’s rockets.
And he was on the same page as Netanyahu and those to the neo-fascist right of him who prefer to ignore the fact that Hamas’s top leaders have been on the public record for some years with the statement that while Hamas will never recognise Israel’s “right” to exist, it is prepared to live with it in a two-state solution provided that is the wish of the Palestinians as confirmed by a referendum. Halfon asserted that Hamas wanted “only the destruction of Israel.” If he really believes that Hamas could destroy Israel, he’s as nuts as Netanyahu.