The role that Britain played in creating the eventual apartheid government of Israel as we have it today is very clear and has been referred to as a mistake, but their deafening official quietness, apart from paying lip-service in the face of contemporary Israeli aggressions and sustained genocide, is even more worrying. Some former members of the parliament such as George Galloway have recognised this historic mistake, but the government must practically and officially do more to address one of the numerous catastrophies they created around the world during their era of global dominance.
In 2011, the British government promised to recognise Palestine as an observing non-member state at the United Nations, while in 2014, the country’s House of Commons passed a motion calling for the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state in what has been referred to as little more than a game of gesture politics. The country has also spent more than 50 million dollars to help Palestinian refugees between 2017/18. These are good, but indeed, very slow steps, that have allowed Israel the freedom to continue its brutality while systematically expanding its borders, thereby rendering these gesture-politics a strategy of ‘one-step-forward and ten-steps-backward’. In 2017, during the centenary ‘celebration’ of the Balfour Declaration, British Prime Minister Theresa May disclosed that Britain is proud of the role it played in creating the state of Israel, that is responsible for the displacement of Palestinians – clearly highlighting why little has been practically done to stop the visible oppression of Palestinians by Israel.
As it stands today, Britain, no longer the global force it once was, still has the opportunity to do more to support the successful realisation of the Palestinian state as a sovereign entity, while also supporting the right of the refugees to return. The country can still take proactive measures by officially condemning the serial violation of human rights by Israel, not just during parliamentary sessions as done by some courageous members of the parliament, but also on the floor of the United Nations alongside other countries.
The international community also needs to make consistent efforts at practically making sure that Israel is held accountable for its atrocities. Israel has committed numerous documented human rights abuses in the occupied territories with little or no restraints. In fact, the country has continued to enjoy supports in various forms, especially from the United States while bulldozing its way against verified UN reports. For example, according to a UN report, the settlements built by the Israeli government on occupied territories have no validity. In the strict sense of it, these settlements are better classed as ‘stolen territories’ occupied through sheer military force. Despite this, nothing tangible has been done to curtail this effrontery as well as several others… such as the systemic ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians that is geared towards creating an absolute Jewish state – the reason for ensuring that Palestinians do not return to their previous villages and homes.
The countries of the world that are well-known for their democratic evangelism and Rule of Law have all turned blind eyes to these inhumane atrocities committed through the use of their arms ammunition. As we can obviously see from the continuous unexpressed support for Israel’s genocide, nothing practical has been done despite several reports from the United Nations, but if similar atrocities were carried out by countries and regimes other than Israel, we could expect to see a coordinated response with the usual ‘all options are on the table’ bombastic speeches.
The promise of international support for the full recognition of a sovereign Palestine by key powers with interest in the region is hinged on the need for Palestine to recognise Israel, but first we must do more to stop the Israeli onslaught before the whole of the territory and its Palestinian inhabitants become extinct.