The new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, delivered a speech to the UN that continued to expose her hypocrisy when talking about freedom, democracy, sovereignty and British values, to back-up her support for the Ukraine against Russia’s aggression and occupation, while not referring to Palestine and Israel’s occupation and serial breaking of international law. On the contrary, she included Israel in the list of countries the UK aims to partner with more closely in the future, including South Africa. In the same speech, she referred to her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II trip to ‘post-Apartheid’ South Africa.
In a tweet summarising her comments at the UN, a smiley Liz Truss is presented talking to smiley Israeli Prime Minster, Yair Lapid. He appears in two back-to-back clips, while other leaders who feature, only appear once. To the initiated, it appears that long-established democracy, the UK is partnering with another democracy, a normal State. It is quite astonishing that Israel can be seen or presented in this light, when those who know and follow the conflict will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that Israel is far from a ‘normal’ or democratic State. In addition to it being officially a State in occupation of another people and their land, it is a settler State that has moved its citizens against international law into illegally occupied Palestinian lands and works day and night to restrict the land Palestinians live on.
It divides Palestinians into categories, the West Bank, Jerusalem, the 1948 areas, each designated different identity cards and restricts their movement and ability to even meet or marry or study. A Palestinian holder of Israeli citizenship or Jerusalem identity card cannot bring a wife or a husband to live with him/her in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem, and none of the above can easily and freely move to Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza cannot visit their families or other Palestinians without a permit, as if they are visiting Mars and not other parts of their homeland.
Israel applies military law to Palestinians in the occupied territories, but not to illegal settlers living in the same geographic areas. It can decide to close an area it occupies and on which Palestinians live, turning it into a military area and ethnically cleansing them from it. It does not do that to Jews.
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This far-from-normal State commits so many violations that BTSELEM, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have conducted robust studies backed by plentiful evidence to conclude, it practices Apartheid. It has a record of attacking and killing Palestinians, including medics like Razan Al Najjar in Gaza and journalists like Shireen Abu Akleh and many children, but with no accountability for these crimes for its soldiers through internal investigations or her crimes in international courts.
This far-from-normal State can attack its neighbours with complete impunity and no western State bats an eyelid. It has nuclear weapons, but agitates for Iran not to have them and works night and day to scupper any deal on Iran’s nuclear programme that would bring stability to the whole region.
This far-from-normal State thinks it is above the law. Any criticism must be driven by hatred of Jews, than in response to its abominable violations against the Palestinians.
Western Governments, which laud their values, consider this abnormal State to be working to the same values, when it s not. They are now, unfortunately, aided and abetted by normalising Arab States, which would not themselves claim to share the same values of those same western governments.
When the Palestinians resist to free themselves and their land, it brands them as terrorists. When they resort to boycotts, it labels their efforts as ‘economic terrorism’. When they resort to international law, it labels attempts to bring cases of Israeli atrocities to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as ‘legal terrorism’.
The international community welcomes its leaders, works to grow trade with it and shields it from accountability.
Britain’s own former Prime Minister, Johnson, wrote to reassure Conservative Friends of Israel of his, and the UK’s opposition to the ICC bringing cases against Israel’s leaders. Britain even changed its position on a recurring item (7) on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) that examines the situation in Palestine. The pathetic reason given was that Israel was singled out for criticism. The fact that its occupation of Palestine is decades-long is the reason the item exists and that has not changed, so why did the UK change its position?
Prime Minister Liz Truss takes the credit for the change of position on the HRC. She was working hard to conclude a free trade deal with Israel, and continues to pursue that. Her stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has lasted 6 months, which included sanctions, supply of arms to the Ukraine and commitment to defeat the aggressor, was not matched with similar principles on the Palestine / Israel injustice.
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Her promise to the Israeli Prime Minister at the UH to look at moving the British Embassy to Jerusalem is wrong and worthy of condemnation.
During her leadership challenge, Truss was called out for flip-flopping on important issues in her past. They included being a Liberal Democrat activist in her activist role, when she marched against Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, to now claiming to be the “keeper of the Thatcherite flame”. She was also a “remain” supporter, before Britain chose BREXIT and has now become the “darling of the BREXIT-backing Conservative right wing” and is threatening an economic war with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol.
Perhaps the Israel-backing Truss will flip-flop from being an ardent supporter of Israel, regarding it as an ally and example of democracy, to seeing it for what it is – an Apartheid, settler colonialist, occupying State. Hopefully, she will soon see the light, recognise Israel’s serial violations of international law, international humanitarian law and a stack of UN Security Council resolutions. The Prime Minister of Balfour Britain, should one day wake up, smell Israeli Apartheid and disassociate the UK from it. That would be in line with the UK’s claimed values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, or is the pressure exerted by the pro-Israel lobby so strong that she will be on the wrong side of history?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.