By Arab News
By Stuart Littlewood
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an interview on BBC radio: “There has been a spike in rocket attacks over recent days and a very large number over recent weeks. What Israel has done is obviously the Israeli response to that.”
This doesn’t tally with the actual sequence of events. And once again, the number of Gaza rockets means nothing unless compared with the number of Israeli bombs, rockets, tank shells, airstrikes and other armed incursions — which we’re never told about and news programs never ask.
“The thing that would bring this to an end would be for Hamas to stop launching rockets at Israel,” Hague continued, and urged Israel to reduce tension and de-escalate the situation, observe international and humanitarian laws and avoid civilian casualties.
He surely knows that no amount of urging over the years has persuaded Israel to show the slightest respect for laws, rights and civilian casualties. And why wasn’t he pressed on the endless occupation of the West Bank, from which no rockets are fired, and the legality of the blockade on Gaza?
However, Sarah Montague, the interviewer did ask about the lull in hostilities followed by a sharp escalation by Israel with the slaying of the Hamas military leader. Hague deflected the question by trying to focus on the “wider point” of getting the Middle East peace process going again, as if this discredited policy had any hope of succeeding while one party was being systematically strangled by the other’s illegal military occupation.
He said: “The onus in now on the Palestinians to reconcile with each other and Hamas to commit to a deal instead of terrorism…”
Actually, the onus is squarely on the international community to enforce international law and the many UN resolutions relating to Palestine. But the BBC didn’t pursue this line either.
Sarah Montague then suggested that calling up 30,000 Israeli reservists and sending tanks and troops to the Gaza border looked like ramping up the tension, not de-escalating. Hague referred to how previous ground invasions lost Israel international support, avoiding any mention of the illegality and war crimes aspects.
Asked if Britain would support a ground offensive now, he continued to duck and weave. “I’ve been clear where the principal responsibility lies. We want Hamas to end its terrorism and violence and Israel to take every opportunity to de-escalate.”
His bias is blatant. Shouldn’t he be calling for Israel to end its terrorism and violence and Hamas to de-escalate?
Finally, would he be supporting the Palestinians’ bid for modest observer status at the UN? “We don’t think it is a good idea to be putting that resolution to the UN General Assembly — we’ve made that clear to President Abbas… There is a danger that it would make the situation worse and make the peace process harder to sustain.”
He’s living in fairy-land. What peace process?
It’s high time serious broadcasters established where the interviewee is coming from. In the case of Hague this is vitally important. He voted enthusiastically to get us mired in the shameful Iraq war.
And did anyone hear him speak out against the folly of invading Afghanistan when it was his duty, as a leading opposition figure at the time, to hold the Labour government to account?