Posted by: Lister | January 16, 2009

Commons Debate on Gaza

From the Guardian “live blogging”. I’ll quote Liddington, since he’s my MP:

3.00pm: David Liddington, a shadow foreign minister, is opening the debate for the Tories. He says that 90% of Israelis support what their government is doing. A Liberal Democrat asks him to condemn the “totally disproportionate” Israeli response to the Hamas attacks. Liddington appears unhappy with that phrase. “I think the key point to make is that we need to see an immediate end to the Israeli military action and the rocket attacks on Israel … We condemn the disproportionate use of force and the targeting of civilians. We regret the attack today on the UN headquarters in Gaza, which is wholly unacceptable. It is welcome that the Israeli authorities have recognised the folly of that particular [action].”

And Gerald Kuufman:

3.15pm: Sir Gerald Kaufman delivers a blistering speech which starts with a reference to his grandmother being killed by the Nazis.

[Via Press Association] Sir Gerald, who was brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, told MPs: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town … a German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.

“The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

He said the claim that large numbers of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

The Manchester Gorton MP acknowledged that Hamas was a “deeply nasty organisation” but it was democratically elected and “is the only game in town”.

Refusing to hold talks with Hamas was a “culpable error from which dreadful consequences have followed”, he said.

Calling for an arms embargo, he said: “It is time for our government to make clear to the Israeli government that its conduct and policies are unacceptable and to impose a total arms ban on Israel.”

Sir Gerald added: “It is time for peace – but real peace, not the solution by conquest which is Israel’s real goal but which is impossible for them to achieve.

“They are not simply war criminals, they are fools.”

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers to kill Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza,” he says.

[The live-blogging version continued]

3.16pm: He says that he is a supporter of Israel. “Golda Meir [the former Israeli PM] was my friend,” he says.

3.22pm: Hamas is a “detestable organisation”, he says. “But it is democratically elected and it is the only game in town. The boycott of Hamas, including by our own government, has been a culpable error from which dreadful consequences have followed.” However many Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets, the Israelis cannot believe that they will deal with the problem exclusively by military means, he says.

“When, however, the fighting ends, there will still be 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5 million Palestinians on the West Bank who are being treated like dirt by Israel.

“The time will come when it is time for our government to make it clear to the Israeli government that its conduct and policies are unacceptable and to impose a total arms embargo on Israel.”

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