A top Tory has written to the new Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond demanding he step in to stop Operation Preventive Edge, leading to concerns that the party’s support for Israel may be waning. Margot James, who is a Number 10 policy adviser and parliamentary aide to William Hague, has said that Israel’s actions are disproportionate, according to the Guardian.
Whilst Ms James claimed she had been a firm supporter of Israel for many years she has called for a much tougher stance on the country. In her letter she wrote: “I ask that the government rethinks policy towards the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“The scale of suffering in Gaza is far too great, the loss of life, and particularly the lives of children and other vulnerable individuals, cannot be justified on the grounds of defence in proportion to the level of threat faced by Israel from Hamas.”
Another MP, Sir Peter Bottomley, also wrote to the Chief Whip, Michael Gove claiming that the centre of the Conservative Party was unhappy with the “devastation and death” taking place in Gaza.
Sir Peter told the BBC: “We all know that Israel has the right to exist, we all know that the attacks on Israel should cease, we know that Israel’s settlements and their treatment of Palestinians is provocative. That’s the foundation. The issue now is if Israel is relying on other people to be silent, they’ll go on with a lack of proportionality and the devastation and the death.
“Anyone who looks at the pictures of what’s going on presently in Gaza must know that the Israelis know what they’re doing and what they’re doing is wrong… Many Israelis know it’s wrong. Netanyahu may have support, but Israelis know that if you go killing people at this rate, the disregard for the life of Palestinians is going to show up in the world as a bad mark for Israel.”
The interventions are bad news for Israel who have enjoyed the support of both the Conservatives and the Prime Minister so far. This has been in sharp contrast to the Labour Party who have been much more sceptical of Israel’s activities.
Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander has been an opponent of Operation Protective Edge for some time. He said: “The growing number of Palestinian civilians being killed is rightly provoking international outrage, and the continuing incursion into Gaza risks further international isolation for Israel and further international condemnation of its actions.”
Whilst Israel is not normally sensitive to international pressure, particularly when it comes to national security issues, these moves will come as a blow. The country had hoped that foreign governments would recognise that they are defending themselves against a sustained attack from Hamas.
But international media and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign appear to be winning hearts and minds across the world. The problem for Israel is that Hamas wants to wipe the country off the map, but are gaining traction by using civilians are human shields. This is causing a humanitarian catastrophe that Israel is taking the blame for.
As reported on Breitbart London last week, the official aim of campaigners is to end the bombing in Gaza. However, crowds of campaigners often chant “from river to sea, Palestine will be free” a reference to the destruction of Israel altogether. Others chanted openly about their support for Hamas.