David Cameron was visiting the Israeli government in occupied Palestine this week. Reading his speech to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, it is striking just how grovelling it is.
Cameron spends large portions of the speech trying to prove his Zionist credentials. Just how much more will I do for thee, Israel? He changed the law to make it easier for Israeli war criminals to visit Britain without fear of prosecution under universal jurisdiction laws. His country is investing in Israel more than ever. And so on.
As is standard for US and European political leaders, Cameron emphasised the need for Israeli “security” and “a life free from the everyday fear of terror”. But of course, nothing was mentioned about the Palestinian need for security and the need to live a life free from Israeli terror.
Israel once again broke, on Tuesday, a ceasefire with Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip, killing three Islamic Jihad fighters there. The resistance factions responded with a rocket barrage into Israel.
Unnoticed by most of the media, Israeli murders of Palestinian innocent bystanders, activists, and fighters have gone on constantly this year. Cameron mentioned nothing of the killing of student Saji Darwish, shot in the head by Israeli army thugs on Monday. Or of Raed Ala’eddin Zeiter, the 38-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian judge shot dead while trying to cross the Israeli occupation’s Jordan-West Bank crossing that same day.
Not for nothing does Amnesty International’s latest report call Israeli forces “trigger happy”.
The largest part of Cameron’s speech was given over to an invisible world of Cameron’s imagination. A cloud cuckoo-land in the Knesset.
“Imagine what this land would be like if a two-state solution was actually achieved” he tried to persuade the sceptical audience.
He then spent most of the rest of the speech talking about the “dividends of peace that I long for” once the Palestinian Authority has signed away Palestinian rights and capitulated to Israeli pressure to “end the conflict” and pesky little claims like the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugee to historic Palestine.
But Cameron has underestimated Israeli intransigence. As eager as the quisling Palestinian Authority is to totally capitulate, it will be difficult for them to do so without a popular Palestinian backlash. But perhaps even more significantly (because the PA is not a remotely democratic institution – quite the reverse), Israel refuses to let the PA do so.
There are no realistic terms for a Palestinian “state” that will be submissive enough for the current Israeli government – a government of settlers, if ever the was one. The housing minister himself lives in a West Bank settlement, as does the Minister Lieberman
Cameron very much cast this delusional fantasy as an antidote to the popular, Palestinian-led international movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. The very fact that such a fanatical opponent of Palestinian rights as David Cameron is now forced to face up to the reality of the BDS movement and the new international climate it has created is significant in itself.
While right-wing pro-Israel fanatics like Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard do their best to rubbish the movement, it is clear there is much fretting about BDS going on. Pollard, for example, dismisses BDS as insignificant, even while devoting significant, and regular, coverage to it in his newspaper.
“Imagine Israel, like any other democratic nation, finally treated fairly and normally by all,” said Cameron in his delusional speech. But this can never be. As long as Israel continues to single itself out as an abnormal nation, it will be treated abnormally around the world – certainly at the popular level, if not so much at the level of governments (although even this is beginning to happen).
How many other nations in the world, for example, deny the very existence of their own nationality? Israel’s high court has upheld that there is no such thing as an “Israeli” nationality, only a “Jewish” one – everyone else is considered a “minority” with less rights in law and practice.
As long as Israel continues to practice occupation, inequality and the denial of the indelible right of the Palestinian refugees to return, it will never be a “normal” state.
An associate editor with The Electronic Intifada, Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.