by Marcus Dych 14 October 2014 The Jewish Chronicle
Sir Alan Duncan
Former International Development Minister Alan Duncan has launched a blistering attack on the Israeli government’s settler policy, comparing it to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands and Saddam Hussein’s claim to Kuwait.
The situation in Hebron in the West Bank was akin to apartheid and supporters of settlements were “extremists”, he said.
In a keynote speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Sir Alan said Israel was “relentlessly” building illegally on Palestinian land, breaking international law and obstructing the peace process.
He said many Israeli settlers were “state-supported militia” and cited a “wicked cocktail” of occupation and annexation which brought shame on the Israeli government.
“In the past, the world has taken a clear stand on illegal territorial expansion, even when the aggressor might describe the area as disputed,” Sir Alan said.
“We sent the navy to repel General Galtieri’s claim to the Falkland Islands. We sent an army to repel Saddam Hussain’s claim to Kuwait. We are imposing sanctions on Russia for their annexation of Crimea, and their subterfuge in eastern Ukraine.
“But there is no punitive action taken against Israel for their persistent annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
The Conservative MP described settlements as the “most destructive” aspect of military occupation and said they were proof that Israel had “little or no intention of ending that occupation or of permitting a viable Palestinian state to come into existence.
“This illegal construction and habitation is theft, it is annexation, it is a land grab – it is any expression that accurately describes the encroachment which takes from someone else something that is not rightfully owned by the taker. As such, it should be called what it is, and not by some euphemistic soft alternative.”
Minister Alan Duncan in the now abandoned video, talking about Israel’s security wall and water ‘theft’
Sir Alan said those who supported settlement building should be barred from taking public office.
“Settlement endorsement should be put on a par with racism, sexism, homophobia and antisemitism.
“Indeed, just as we quite rightly judge someone unfit for public office if they refuse to recognise Israel, so we should shun anyone who refuses to recognise that settlements are illegal.
“No settlement endorser should be considered fit to stand for election, remain a member of a mainstream political party, or sit in a Parliament.
“How can we accept lawmakers in our country, or any country, when they support lawbreakers in another? They are extremists, and they should be treated as such.”
Sir Alan also referred to the JC’s decision to publish a DEC emergency appeal advert during the Gaza conflict in August.
“I find it astonishing – indeed rather sickening – that the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, should have been roundly attacked by some of his readership in the UK for his simple humanity and decency, not to say editorial right, in publishing an advert in the paper for the Gaza humanitarian appeal,” he said.
“Jewish representative organisations are not obliged to, and nor should they, stand up for the illegal and excessive conduct of the Israeli government.
“Whereas Israel has adopted a policy of making itself a self-defined Jewish state that should not mean that all Jews in all other countries should be required to become spokesmen for all that Israel does.”
Concentrating on British Jews’ support for political parties, he said people should not confuse the community “with the Israeli lobby” or as a single “homogenous” block.
“We need British Jews for the Conservative, Labour, or other UK parties; not the Israeli lobby for any party. The time has come to make sure above any doubt that the funding of any party in the UK is clearly decoupled from the influence of the Israeli state.”
As a minister, Sir Alan caused controversy in 2011 during a visit to Gaza when he described Israel’s security barrier as a “land grab” and accused Israel of deliberately taking water away from the Palestinians.
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