Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Prime Minister David Cameron insults people of Palestine

David Cameron
David Cameron

I noted the words of our Prime Minister David Cameron in his statement of July 9, 2014 with deep disappointment. His condemnation of Hamas's rockets is, of course, very important and welcome; targeting civilians is a war crime.

However, his statements lacked any sense of balance, or true intelligent understanding of the reality on the ground.

I found the lack of condemnation towards Israel for its disproportionate use of force to be appalling. Cameron made no effort to require Israel to live up to its obligations under international law and there was no sense that the Prime Minister even cares about the deaths of Palestinians.

There was no mention of Britain's obligations under international law, no points made on the fact Britain should in both practice and theory be using its power to protect the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.

Nothing was said about non-combatants. Cameron didn't criticise or condemn Israel's killing of civilians.

More than 170 people have been killed; entire families have been bombed using hundreds of tons of explosives.

Sometimes, you might hear Israeli officials claim the Defence Forces do everything they can to avoid civilian "casualties".

This is a blatant lie, as proven not only by the figures (mostly civilians) showing kill rates of 1,400-to-nine in Operation Cast Lead, 176-to-six in Operation Pillar of Defense and 163-to-nil in the current offensive, Operation Protective Edge, but also by the fact international law is quite clear in its view that homes of civilians are not legitimate military targets.

Mr Cameron's statements reveal an institutionalised disregard for Palestinian life, as if the deaths are somehow acceptable as long as Israel says it's for self-defence, or in the context of military operations.

What is perhaps most insulting about Cameron's statement is that it diminishes the meaning of previous condemnation made regarding the death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

After reading his brief statement, I felt more deeply ashamed of my country than I have in years.

  • Gary Spedding is a member of Alliance's youth wing. He writes here in a personal capacity.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk