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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cameron makes himself irrelevant

The Wall Street Journal argues that David Cameron's speech in Turkey on Tuesday has made him irrelevant to any Middle East peacemaking efforts.
In the late summer of 2005, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stood up to ferocious opposition within his own party to remove all of Israel's soldiers and settlements from the Gaza Strip. But he did have the support of a Conservative Shadow Minister of Education named David Cameron. At the time, just shortly before becoming Tory leader, Mr. Cameron paid tribute to "Israel's bold decision to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank," adding that "I am also clear that the Palestinian leadership now needs to live up to its responsibility to end corruption, violence, prejudice and terrorism which has blighted their people's prospects."

It didn't work out that way. Instead, Gaza immediately became a terrorist enclave that intensified its rocket fire on Israeli towns, took an Israeli soldier hostage, and quickly descended into a civil war that concluded with the bloody overthrow of Fatah by Hamas, which the U.K., the European Union and the U.S. all consider a terrorist organization. All this happened before Israel imposed its "blockade" on the Strip, a blockade that was also joined (and enforced much more severely) by Egypt. All the same, in the first quarter of this year alone Israel delivered close to 100,000 tons of aid to Gaza.

Since then, Gaza really has become a prison in many ways....

All this would seem to be ripe for this or any Prime Minister's condemnation. It might also have behooved Mr. Cameron to note that in the first quarter of this year alone Israel supplied 70% of Gaza's electricity. In 2009, more than 10,000 Gazans were treated for medical conditions in Israeli hospitals, including 382 emergency evacuations. All this for a territory the government of which seeks Israel's annihilation.

Instead, Mr. Cameron chose to lay sole blame for Gaza's situation on Israel. This must have surely delighted his Turkish hosts. But it smacks of cravenness and hardly serves the interests of truth-telling, much less any hopes of reconciliation between Ankara and Jerusalem. In a stroke, Mr. Cameron has managed to make himself irrelevant to Middle East peacemaking.


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