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Britain’s hypocrisy in Middle East

The UK government’s policy towards Israel and the Palestinian issue is considered even among sharp-eyed observers of UK foreign policy as a bit of a mystery.

First, British Prime Minister David Cameron is playing the typical European leader, who is pressuring Israel to offer concessions to the Palestinians, the example of which emerged during Cameron’s visit to Turkey in July 2010, when he compared the besieged Gaza Strip to a “prison camp.”

Cameron also slammed Israelis for attacking the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which resulted in the death of many activists.

Last month, on a Middle East tour, the Prime Minister also highlighted his country’s vote, a few days earlier, for a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, which was doomed to a US veto.

Second, there is a British Prime Minister who is playing as a loyal friend to Israel, who on March 2 told the Community Security Trust, a British Jewish group, that his “belief in Israel was indestructible”.

“Israel was within its rights to search vessels bringing cargo into Gaza”, he said.

In fact, the Prime Minister is telling each audience what it wants to hear and this is an absolute hypocrisy.

Analysts believe that Cameron is offering Israel mixed messages to the blessing of the US president.

Before the UN vote of February 18, US President Barack Obama reportedly encouraged Cameron and others to take a tough line on Israel.

In phone calls to his European allies, Obama is said to have expressed frustration at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s approach to settlements, but to have explained he had “too many domestic fires to extinguish” to risk a bust-up over Israel.

This, rather than hypocrisy, might be the real story of Israel’s current relations with Britain and others. And Cameron’s seeming disagreement with Obama over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might actually be a form of diplomatic co-operation.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a meeting on Thursday that Israeli settlement building “runs contrary to peace.”

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