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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Russia's role in Israel/Palestine stalemate

President Abbas blames Israel for the Quartet's not having issued a statement on the Israel/Palestine peace process this week; "Israeli officials" are quoted as blaming the Palestinians. I blame the Russians, whose stance on this deserves a lot more critical attention. Interesting also to see British Ambassador Matthew Gould telling an Israeli newspaper of his government's "preference to avoid" a UN vote on Palestinian statehood in September, as:
we are worried that September will be a damaging moment for the future of peace. We are worried that it will make it more difficult in the matter of the trust between the sides. We are worried that this will divert the main message that peace must come about by means of talks between the sides. It could be that this decision will also fuel the flames. For example, in the West Bank and Gaza - there is real frustration there. If you bring into there the idea of a UN resolution about the recognition of a Palestinian state, and nothing changes on the ground, this will create a dangerous situation. This will only increase the level of tension.
He adds that the UK has not decided how to vote if there is a motion and that "our preference is to avoid a situation in which we have to choose either way in a decision that we think is dangerous". 

Meanwhile, the firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza continues with such regularity as to barely be reported. We British are simply too calm about things sometimes. We think that because these weapons don't often kill people or make headlines, then perhaps they don't matter very much. If these missiles were hitting houses in Britain, the response in terms of public opinion would be - well, let's just say it would be somewhat spirited. 

Nobody would be saying that it didn't matter because not much damage was being done when the things landed. Nobody, if these missiles were falling here, would be talking about anything else. Do you not think, if a de facto government in an adjacent territory was firing missiles at our houses, that we might expect the British Government to take some military action against the offensive capabilities of the people firing the missiles, as well as seeking a political solution to the underlying problems?

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