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Shots fired in Ceasefire debate chaos.

Our representatives let the public down yesterday. For several reasons.

 

It’s difficult to know where to begin – but it probably starts in the weeks before this motion. The extent British politicians have deliberated on whether to unequivocally call for a ceasefire tells its own story about how we view human lives that aren’t our own. In short, we don’t.

 

The lives of Palestinians, for instance, to us, are sub-human. They’re not deserving of the same status. They’re disposable for political ends.

 

How can I say such a thing? Well, Israel’s military operation should’ve been called out weeks ago by the UK Parliament. It shouldn’t have had to take 100,000-odd people either dead or injured to come to that conclusion. It shouldn’t have even been a debate.

 

Disclaimer: I’m not a Hamas sympathiser. I'm not using the example of Palestinians in the hope you'll forget about the horror that Isreal had to go through in October or the innocent civilians held hostage. I didn’t fail to grieve or restrict all my thoughts to those Israeli families that were affected. Nor did I think Israel was doing the wrong thing by showing a strong military reaction at the time.

 

You would hope that this would be assumed, given the population in the UK is largely full of decent people. But in modern-day politics it's not. Unfortunately.

 

Why our politics has got to this place is perhaps a whole other article... but as we’ve seen yesterday it's all relevant.



Either way, my point still stands. Our representatives don’t really care about the lives of these people. If you think foreign policy has been anything other than specifically suiting our interests, security or perception, then you’re incredibly naïve.

 

I’m not saying all politicians are soulless. I’m saying, at the end of it all, for the final decision, it’ll be a table of rich, powerful men making a decision that wholeheartedly suits themselves. Anything else is performative and it’s done as a front to make the masses believe decisions are made democratically. And they’re not.

 

I say it again… if it really was about morals, why wasn’t Israel’s military operation called out weeks and weeks ago? Anyone with a bit of decency and common sense could point out that Israel was no longer acting in a proportionate manner of self-defence when over 10,000 children were reported lying in the ground, dead.

 

Partly because our representatives desperately cling onto power.


The Conservatives, for instance, might not have wanted to be seen calling for a ceasefire because it didn’t suit their political agenda. It might make them look weak. It might upset their pals over the pond. It might contradict everything that’s come out of their mouth for weeks and can’t afford to be seen going back on another pledge of theirs.

 

So, when the international community came together to call for Israel to stop their war efforts back in November, only two countries failed to do so… us and America. We gave the green light that day to the needless killing of civilians.

 

And what for? Cos on the surface I just can’t see why.

 

And where was the opposition?

 

Well, Labour, unfortunately, have been utterly useless up until last week.

 

To use Ian Murray’s words, the Tories are a shower of “morally corrupt” politicians… and yet Labour had done nothing to make a stand against the UK Government’s position. In fact, they've supported it.

 

All because they felt Israel needed to hold on to that understanding of operating in self-defence. Even though to everyone with eyes, ears and a moral conscience, it was blatantly obvious they’d gone too far.

 

What if Hamas strikes back?

 

This has been the line heard from UK politicians who, aside from the SNP and the Greens, have consistently fallen short of calling out Israel’s military operation from the point it obviously went too far. They believe the continuation has been justified against this threat.

 

Whilst security threats towards innocent Israelis are of paramount importance and concern, the understanding of the international community was that this isn’t a humane justification for thousands of Palestinians to become collateral damage. ‘We need to protect ourselves, so we’re going to cut off your water, electricity, supplies, destroy almost all your buildings and community centres, and kill thousands of you’ isn’t in any way justifiable.

 

It makes the situation incredibly difficult. It leaves an incredible strain on Israeli security forces. It leaves the Israeli public terrified… but it still can’t be rationally justified. There needs to be efforts towards a workable solution that doesn’t green-light the endless bombardment of Palestinian people. Obliterating a whole population isn’t feasible, to use an unjustly flippant word given the context, and this is exactly where it is heading.

 

A complex moral conundrum, but one that struck an obvious chord somewhere in every single country apart from Britain and America.

 

Now, that was months ago. Since then a lot more people have been killed. Allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing have become increasingly hard to resist and ignore. There is the prospect of Israel bombing Rafah, in which over a million Palestinians are crammed in.

 

SNP table another motion calling for an immediate, unequivocal ceasefire. The situation is becoming desperate and there’s little time for the big players in macro, international politics to muck about any longer.

 

We’re looking at Britain and America, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, champions of international law and huge diplomatic influence, to finally hold the Israeli state to account and tell them to stop. Anything other than a strong message would be unforgivable.

 

The Tories, as you’d grimly predict, are still holding their line. They’re still falling short of a calling for ceasefire. They still can’t understand the long-term damage this military operation will have on so many.

 

You’re thinking… please. You’re looking to Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition, thinking pleeeeeeease. Say something. Stand up for what almost everyone is thinking. Think of the Palestinians.

 

After weeks of kicking and screaming, weeks of ego bruising, weeks of petty politics… Labour finally says the words. We need a ceasefire. Now.

 

Hallelujah. Better late than never. We’re at Monday 19th of February and we’ve finally got a sizeable opposition in our Parliament. They might’ve been saying else on the 18th… but we’ve got it on the 19th. Happy days. They’ll back the SNP’s upcoming motion and we’ll hopefully get the strong, diplomatic message that the Palestinian people desperately need.

 

…but hold on. There’s a twist.

 

What now? What could there possibly be left to debate?

 

ITV’s Robert Peston reveals Keir Starmer is unhappy about calling Israel out for ‘collective punishment’ and instructs his MPs to vote down the SNP’s motion for a ceasefire.



It’ll be one for future philosophers to consider why Keir Starmer didn’t feel Israel deserved to be held to account in the same manner he’d expect of other countries. Sceptics will look at the politics of it. Some might even look to lobby interests and the sizeable donations made to the party and his leadership campaign.

 

But for many of us… that will forever go down as a strange understanding of a relatively straightforward choice.

 

So what next?

 

Labour proposed a motion of their own. One that’s all-encompassing… well, at least in their eyes.

 

It calls for several things. Like the release of hostages, a two-state solution… and, importantly, an immediate ceasefire.

 

Happy days, right?

 

It would be... if we weren’t debating foreign policy. Labour’s motion derailed the conversation from addressing an immediate, urgent problem to an idealistic overview of the UK’s long-term ambitions and hope for the Middle East. Falling short, crucially, again, of addressing Israel’s alleged breach of international law.

 

The rosy idea of everyone on the same side, ‘stop trying to divide us’ is all fine and well but we’re talking about policy.


For months Labour spoke about the need to consider how we achieve effective action that lasts... and yet their first act in doing so was blowing a directed, specific task into oblivion.

 

They wanted to have an entirely different conversation to avoid putting on record that Israel has broken international law.

 

This might seem trivial to some… but Britain needed to make a serious point that Israel’s actions were illegitimate in the eyes of international law. Failing to do so meant further, similar action would be justifiable.

 

Not only that, but setting conditions for a ceasefire only on unachievable conditions in the immediate/short-term meant our message would be frail and helpless. And to some, also, culpable for any further atrocities.

 

Israel is operating with the support of their Western allies. Saying ‘We no longer support you, so long as x, y and z happen,’ knowing fine well x, y and z were unlikely to happen in the immediate aftermath, isn’t a strong diplomatic position. It gives the aggressor an obvious loophole.

 

Holding Israel to account radically changes the diplomatic landscape. Their military pursuits would be categorically deemed illegal. It is only from our support which they hang on to the notion that their actions are sound in the eyes of the law.

 

They would be, from that point, without question, breaking international law. They could no longer justify operating in the understanding of ‘self-defence.’ An official declaration that this has gone way beyond the notion of a proportionate response to the attacks conducted by Hamas 4 and a half months ago.

 

All this, you’d think, would be debated thoroughly and openly in our Parliament.

 

Far from it.

 

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, a Labour MP, hijacked the regular democratic process by allowing a vote for Labour’s proposed amendments to the SNP’s motion (to unequivocally call for a ceasefire and hold the Israeli state to account) whilst the motion itself was being debated. It has been widely reported that Starmer threatened the Speaker before proceedings began.

 

Yet again, Labour’s support for Israel’s military operation in its current capacity was kept in the dark and off record. Why? Well… the Tories refused to take part, Labour’s motion passed and the SNP’s standalone vote on their motion couldn’t take place.

 

This led to minor chaos in the Commons. Politicians walking out in protest. Arguments. Shouting… all leading to less thorough debate and scrutiny of policy. The day became about party politics when it should’ve been about Gaza.

 

Deaths continue. Hostages remain in the hands of terrorists. Netanyahu’s extremist Government goes unchastised. All whilst our politicians spend the day backstabbing each other and playing politics.

 

An absolute disgrace.

 

It’s easy to look through the prism of our worries and concerns… but think about how others thought of us yesterday.

 

How must the likes of Russia, China, and dictatorships in the global South that we so easily demonise in our minds react to what happened? They’ll be at the very least pishing themsels wae laughter, thinking of the brass neck we’ve got going on about decency, morals and international standards.

 

How must Israelis feel as their dangerous leader runs riot without proper scrutiny from world leaders? If Netanyahu, a leader of a recognised state, isn’t held to account by the international community, how can we expect terrorists to come to the table for discussions of peace?

 

How must Palestinians feel as they desperately cry out for help and support?

 

The UK’s handling of this issue has been nothing short of disastrous. Failure to understand our importance, a severe lack of effective communication and a complete disregard for the lives of those that matter. That’s how history will remember our contribution.

 

There are no winners from yesterday and yet you still see the likes of party political representatives trying to one-up each other on the PR aftermath. Clearly caring about their hatred for each other, over comparatively trivial sh*t to what they are actually talking about, and letting it get the better of them.

 

I’m a broken man churning out a broken record at the moment… I feel nothing but shame to be a part of the UK and its disfunctiona, power-hungry institutions.

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