The Israeli election double standard

The U.K.’s foreign secretary has once again opened his mouth, and out came the dire “last chance” warning that we’ve been hearing about Israel for, oh, a couple of years now. (It’s apparently a really long-term last chance.)

Britain said on Tuesday prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are almost dead because of expanding Jewish settlement in ‘occupied territory,’ and warned Israel it was losing international support.

Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke as Israelis voted in an election likely to yield a hardline rightist government keener to thicken settlement on land where Palestinians want to establish statehood than seek peace.

“I hope that whatever Israeli government emerges …. that it will recognize that we are approaching the last chance to bring about such a solution,” Hague told parliament.

“I condemn recent Israeli decisions to expand settlements. I speak regularly to Israeli leaders stressing our profound concern that Israel’s settlement policy is losing it the support of the international community and will make a two-state solution impossible,” he said.

In the meantime, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is in his ninth year of his four-year term, and funnily enough, no one seems to think that Palestinian elections have anything to do with the current impasse. No one seems to think that perhaps someone else should be running the Palestinian Authority. In fact, no one thinks that the Palestinians should be led by something other than one man, one vote, one time. As to Hamas and Gaza, well, that also isn’t part of the complaints of the U.K.’s foreign minister. Here’s what he said during the last Gaza response:

There is no military solution to the crisis in Gaza or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Really? Because the rocket fire has stopped.

He also insists that “all settlements are illegal“.

Really? Because that has not been determined in any court of law.

Now let’s take a look at the statement issued by Hague and the FM of Australia. They had a lot to say about Israel’s responsibilities. Not so much about the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government must engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions. Actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace. Neither side should create obstacles to that objective. We call on Israel to stop settlement activity. All settlements are illegal under international law and settlement activity undermines the prospects for peace. Australia and the United Kingdom expressed particular concern regarding the recent settlement announcements of the Israel Government including the proposed development of the E1 area.

A whole paragraph about both sides’ responsibilities, and yet, all of the demands are for Israel. And apparently, Hague and Carr are experts in international law and can declare what is and isn’t legal better than lawyers who are experts in it, who have not determined that the above is true.

Here’s what they had to say to the Palestinians. I remind you that Hamas only recently reiterated their intent to destroy all of Israel and establish “Palestine” from the river to the sea.

Australia and the United Kingdom both voted not to oppose enhanced Palestinian status in the United Nations. We call on the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums. Australia and the United Kingdom urge the Palestinians to resolve their internal differences, unite for peace and cease acts of violence against Israel. In particular, we call for the Palestinians to abide by the terms of the Gaza ceasefire and to stop all rocket attacks.

Well, that’ll stop Hamas.

Note how two months after the Gaza war, Hague is calling for the end to rocket fire that has already ended. In fact, the ceasefire he mentions is the very same Gaza ceasefire that resulted from a military operation, something that Hague said could not solve the crisis.

Of course, the punchline to all this is that the experts all over the world insisting that Israel was taking a hard right were wrong. A centrist, secular party won nearly as many seats as Likud and stands a very high chance of joining Netanyahu’s ruling coalition. The two top demands? Negotiate with the Palestinians and universal service for all Israelis.

Those hard-right bastards!

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