Prince William was probably wrong to intervene in the Middle East crisis the way he did.
As heir to the throne, he is supposed to be above politics. He does not intend to say anything that might affect Britain’s relations with foreign states. Can you imagine the late Queen doing it? Of course not.
And yet, although he was reckless in speaking, what he said was surely morally correct and reflected the views of millions of people who are as shocked as the Prince by the deaths and injuries of so many innocent people, including thousands of children, in Gaza . .
William is right to be “deeply concerned” about the “terrible human cost of the conflict” since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. He is also right to want to “see an end to the fighting as soon as possible.” In fact, he was calling for a ceasefire, something the Government has not fully done.
I believe Israel was justified in retaliating against Hamas’ barbaric attack. Almost all countries in the world would have acted in a similar way in the face of such an outrage, although it is doubtful whether it is possible to erase this evil organization from the face of the earth.
William is right to be “deeply concerned” about the “terrible human cost of the conflict” since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7.
However understandable Israel’s reaction may have been, there comes a point when the killing is disproportionate to the original crime, writes our columnist Stephen Glover.
Hamas is absolutely ruthless, even at the expense of the Palestinian people and their well-being. He is committed to the destruction of the State of Israel. He is undoubtedly anti-Semitic.
But no matter how understandable Israel’s reaction may have been, there comes a point when the killing is disproportionate to the original crime. As President Biden put it in an irritatingly folksy yet truthful tone, “the conduct of the [Israeli] “The response in Gaza… has been exaggerated.”
Hamas has been partially deactivated. An attempt by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to root out the terrorist group in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, would most likely involve the deaths of many thousands more Palestinian civilians, who are effectively trapped without any obvious means of escape. exhaust.
I write as a friend of Israel. I want it to survive and prosper, ideally alongside an independent Palestinian state, although, as I will argue later, that is unfortunately now a very distant and increasingly far-fetched prospect.
My fear is that if the IDF persists (if it kills even more thousands of civilians, in addition to exacerbating the already active threats of disease and famine), then Israel will deliver a propaganda victory to its enemies and will be doomed for a generation in the minds of the Israelis. civilized people.
Am I being unfair? Hypocritical even? Didn’t British and American bombers kill and maim immeasurably more innocent children in the bombing raids on Dresden and other German cities during World War II?
Yes they did it. It’s true. But there is this difference: that our parents and grandparents were not fully aware of the terrible human consequences of what was done, while now, thanks to the omnipresent modern media, we are painfully aware of the suffering in Gaza.
And what, you may wonder, about the 134 hostages taken by Hamas and whose whereabouts are still unknown? Doesn’t Israel have the right to demand his release?
Of course it does. But when he threatens to launch an offensive against Rafah if the hostages are not freed by March 10, he begins to fear. The carnage will be terrible if a ground assault is carried out. Some 1.4 million Palestinians take refuge in Rafah. The hostages are likely to be killed. According to the Israeli government, at least 30 have already been.
The best hope for the surviving hostages is that they will be freed after negotiations mediated by moderate Arab states. Israel will have to accept the grotesque imbalance of handing over many more Palestinian prisoners than it receives as hostages in exchange for Hamas.
Will the Israeli government stop and consider it? I fear it is unlikely that much attention will be paid to yesterday’s chaotic debate in the House of Commons, with the main political parties arguing over what constitutes “an immediate ceasefire” (SNP) or “a humanitarian ceasefire immediate” (Labor) or “an “immediate humanitarian pause” (the Government).
The Scot Nats’ motion was too unconditional and gave Hamas virtually carte blanche to revive hostilities. Labour’s official approach – the leadership is riddled with fringe rebels – was more balanced. As for the conservatives, it all depends on the length of the pause. I think it should be long.
The Israeli government is more likely to listen to the United States, which is still resisting calls for a ceasefire while casting doubt on a draft UN resolution on the wisdom of a ground offensive in Rafah. He fears that this “will lead to further harm to civilians and their displacement, potentially even to neighboring countries.”
Not since the Suez crisis of 1956 – when the United States criticized Israel after it invaded Egypt, incited by France and Britain – has there been such a wide gulf between Washington and Jerusalem. It remains to be seen whether Israel’s embattled and unloved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will heed.
Israel’s supporters should not be uncritical. Since the nation’s founding in 1948, and before, there have been visionary statesmen: people like Chaim Weizmann, the country’s first president, and David Ben-Gurion, its first prime minister. Or Yitzhak Rabin, the former army general who worked for peace as prime minister before being assassinated by an Israeli extremist in 1995.
There have been less attractive prime ministers, such as Menachem Begin, a former terrorist who attacked the British before they left Palestine in 1948, and was always distrusted by Margaret Thatcher for that reason. However, Begin made peace with Egypt in 1979.
Netanyahu may not be an extremist, but he has the support of two far-right parties that are. The finance minister is Bezalel Smotrich, whose Religious Zionist party has the support of hardline West Bank settlers. Last March, he stated that “there is no such thing” as the Palestinian people.
As long as Netanyahu and people like Smotrich are in charge, there is a risk that Israel will continue to ignore the warnings of its well-wishers and get out of line. That would be a tragedy.
Not that peace is going to be easy under any circumstances. Foreign Secretary David Cameron speaks rather glibly of a two-state solution, as if all that is needed is for people of good will to sit around the same table. That is not like that.
For one thing, there are almost 700,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, which is not part of Israel. What is going on with them? And why should any Israeli government accept a Palestinian state given what happened in Gaza? Two years after the Israelis withdrew from the Strip in 2005, Hamas was in power and firing rockets into southern Israel.
The road ahead is long and hard. There are certainly no instant solutions. And it is far from clear that an elderly and virtually senile American president in the final days of his administration has the moral authority or the will to confront Netanyahu.
It doesn’t matter if it’s called a ceasefire or a long pause. Whatever happens, the mass, often indiscriminate, killing of women and children must stop. Friends of Israel should realize that this has gone on too long already.