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Israel is losing its friends in the world - FT.com

Israel is losing its friends in the world - FT.com 

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updated: October 16, 2014 6:06 pm

Israel is losing its friends in the world

Europeans view settlement expansion as a tactic to destroy
hopes for a two-state agreement
Britain’s parliament voted the other day to recognise the state of
Palestine
. The decision will not change anything on the ground in the West
Bank or Gaza. Nor is it binding on David Cameron’s coalition government. Yet
this was an important moment, and not just because of Britain’s deep historical
connections with Palestine. The debate opened a window on what Israel’s friends
now think about the enduring impasse in the Middle East.



Benjamin Netanyahu has not
had a good year. Israel’s prime minister was blamed
by the US administration for wrecking its latest attempt to reassemble a
peace process
. In truth, there were obstinacies and obstacles on both
sides, but publicly and privately, US officials identified Israel’s land grabs
in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as the principal cause of the breakdown.
Only this month Philip Hammond, Britain’s
foreign secretary, said he “deplored” plans for more than 2,000 additional
homes for Israeli settlers in Palestinian East Jerusalem. France’s foreign
minister Laurent Fabius said it put in question Israel’s oft-stated commitment
to a negotiated peace. Europeans have come to see settlement expansion as a
strategy calculated to destroy fast-fading hopes for a two-state agreement.

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Philip Stephens

The summer war against
Hamas
had the solid support of most Israelis. For its friends abroad, the
manner and scale of the military assault on Gaza was baffling and
counterproductive. It attracted widespread international opprobrium for no
identifiable strategic gain.

Israel can never be denied
the right of self-defence against rockets fired from Gaza, but the death of
2,000, mostly civilian Palestinians and the bombing of UN schools was rightly
judged to be disproportionate. Israel lost 70 young soldiers. For what gain?
Yuval Diskin, once head of the Shin Bet security service, told Germany’s Der
Spiegel, that Israel had turned itself into “an
instrument in the hands of Hamas”
.

A temporary military success
was more than offset by the political gains that accrued to Hamas and the
damage inflicted on the Palestinian Authority
headed by Mahmoud Abbas. European governments had backed Mr Abbas’s initiative
to forge a joint administration with Hamas as a prelude to serious peace talks.
 

Now they speculate that the Gaza operation was Mr Netanyahu’s attempt to wreck
any accommodation.

These episodes have not undercut the
fundamental commitment of allies to Israel’s right to live in peace and
security. They have drained patience and trust and led many to believe Mr
Netanyahu prefers a permanent
state of war to a difficult peace. Yet the
alternative to two states, as I have heard often during visits to Israel, is
one state that comes to resemble apartheid South Africa.

Israel has lost its international audience. When Mr Netanyahu warns about
the nuclear threat from Iran, even those who worry deeply about Tehran’s
intentions, respond with a weary shrug.

The warnings are seen as a diversion – an effort to distract from his
refusal to accept a Palestinian state rather than a clear-headed assessment of
a present danger. This cannot be good for Israel.

Such was the backdrop to this week’s vote in the House of Commons. The
occasion added lustre to the reputation of the politicians – something too rare
these days. The hyperbole and rancour of everyday partisanship made way for
reasoned argument. Israel had lobbied hard against the motion. It was soon
obvious it had lost its best friends.

The alternative to two
states is one-state that comes to resemble apartheid South Africa
Sir Richard Ottaway, the Conservative MP, explained that his wife’s family
had been instrumental in the fight for the creation of Israel: “I was a friend
of Israel long before I became a Tory.” And yet, “to be a friend of Israel is
not to be an enemy of Palestine”. Voicing anger at the land grabs, he concluded
with sadness: “I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are
losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”

The Israeli argument, echoed as it was by a handful of supportive MPs, is
that the process of recognising Palestine as a state, which began in the UN
general assembly two years ago, is a brake on peace. Statehood is a prize to be
“earned”. To concede it now would be to reduce the pressure for Palestinians to
make tough compromises.

There was never great logic in this. As several MPs pointed out, the
formulation offers Israel an extraordinary veto over the choices of other
sovereign states. Even if this once made tactical sense, the proposition has
been robbed of reason by Mr Netanyahu: Palestinians cannot be denied statehood
because of Israel’s intransigence.

Jack Straw, a former Labour foreign secretary, caught the irony. If pressure
needed to be applied on anyone, he said, then it should be on Mr Netanyahu. On
Palestinian statehood, Mr Straw quoted the words in 2011 of William Hague, then
Mr Cameron’s foreign secretary: “The UK judges that the Palestinian Authority
largely fulfils the criteria for UN membership, including statehood.”

The vote was 274 for recognition and 12 against. Mr Cameron had told 100 or
so government ministers to abstain. He has an election next year. Other MPs
stayed away. But 136 of the 193 members of the UN, including most recently
Sweden, have now accepted Palestine for what it is: a state. Britain will
surely follow soon enough. Mr Netanyahu may rage at the prospect, but Israel
should have nothing to fear. The surest guarantee of its security is peaceful
coexistence with a Palestinian state.

COMMENT:

The author of the article had been impartial
in his writing the article rare thing to go through when the ruling party as
before is acting like a traitor. Particularly by the PM himself asking
ministers and others to abstain the voting that has no binding on anybody
voting. 



It is interesting to observe the activities of Mr.Camaron the PM of the
United Kingdom no better than the Muslim hater Tony Blair and no less a traitor
that the ex PM Tony Blair. Muslim are not fools
not to understand and
that is why on important Woman Minister of the Party resigned from the
Camaron's cabinet for the party's treachery with the Muslims.


It was refreshing to go through the article
because of the fact the PM'S Party had been made made naked it would have his
party completely clothes less if the activities he took part with Israel. PM UK
was a participant to the decision-making and preparation of ISIS the
Frankenstein with the name and style of Muslim to disgrace the religion Islam.


This is shining face of the UK PM of the great country blackened and smeared the
edifice by a stupid immature politician just because he loves the ZIONIST
TERRORIST those who killed the veteran British Politicians.


I am sure the souls
of those great British leaders would take time to digest Mr. Cameron's hard kick
on their face.


I definitely highly adore the author for
presenting an impartial article to enhance the already highly esteemed
throughout the world the publication of "FINANCIAL TIMES".






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Britain’s parliament voted the other day to recognise the
state of Palestine. The decision will not change anything on the ground in the
West Bank or Gaza. Nor is it binding on David Cameron’s coalition government.
Yet this was an important moment,
ft.com








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