I just published a post slamming Britain’s foreign secretrary, William Hague and I’m afraid I’m going to have to take most of it back. Eyal Clyne just sent me a link to an amazing Haaretz story reporting on Hague’s address to Palestinian anti-Wall activists. It’s worth translating significant portions of the article:
“When negotiations seem like an eternally unfulfilled promise due to Israel’s unwillingness to reach a fair solution, popular resistance to the Occupation is the sole remaining possible alternative for the Palestinians to achieve their rights and avoid armed struggle.”
He made this statement while meeting with Palestinians and Israelis struggling against the Separation Wall. He offered the support of the British government for non-violent struggle, saying that this form of resistance would meet with widespread support in the international community. This development comes on the heels of strong British protest at the sham 12-month sentence an Israeli military court handed out to the leader of the Bilin anti-Wall demonstrations, Abdullah Abu-Rachmeh, whose brother was murdered several months ago by the IDF there during a protest. Abu Rachmeh was found guilty of “incitement” for demanding that Israel not steal his village’s land. The Foreign Office said it was concerned that:
The sentence would prevent other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate rights to demonstrate non-violently against the appropriation of Palestinian land by Israel [by the Wall].
The mere fact of such a meeting with a British foreign secretary seems close to historic and certainly a big slap in the face to Israel. Willy, I take it all back. You may be talking out of both sides of your mouth, but today I like what you said.
Tzipi Livni did not take kindly to this “nonsense” at all and put in a good word for the miraculous life-saving qualities of the Wall. But her most interesting comment concerned the nasty habit of British international human rights activists filing arrest warrants whenever Israeli leaders like her or Dan Meridor schedule some hasbara there:
Britain is being fully exploited for the worse by radical political elements making cynical use of its legal system. A situation in which an Israeli leader, whether minister or military officer, cannot travel to Britain is absurd and must be stopped for the sake of good Israeli-British relations.
“O, the times they are a changin'”
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.