An Early Day Motion to condemn the slaughter of 63 Palestinian civilians at the hands of the British-equipped Israeli Defence Force received only 28 signatures in the House of Commons, 3 fewer than a motion to ‘cherish Hedgehogs as a valuable part of native British wildlife’ by regulating various traps taken two days before.
Not a single member of the incumbent Conservative Party signed the motion. Only 18 of 257 Labour Parliamentarians signed it, though Easington MP Grahame Morris sponsored the bill. The Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas signed it, with the rest of the signatures representing Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat representatives.
[There were 28 signatures on 08/06/2018, but it remains open at the time of writing and liable to change.]
Though hedgehog solidarity is no doubt a noble cause, it surely pales in comparison to the 10,000 Gazan civilians who were shot during protests over the last three months? Two weeks after this motion failed to gain traction, Netanyahu’s forces – who were unperturbed by cowardly responses from their key Western allies – shot down 21-year-old Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najar as she wore a ‘clearly identifiable medical jacket’ in broad daylight. She leaves behind a fiancé; her cousin was also shot dead by the IDF on the same day.
Israel’s ‘everything I don’t like is Hamas’ approach remains unquestioned; its preferred narrative of a meek and innocuous underdog protecting its borders from terrorists (they aren’t borders, they’re chicken coup fences ; Gaza is part of Israel) remains gospel thanks in large part to their US cheerleaders and UK apologists.
Scratch under the surface, and the Conservative Party’s blanket refusal to acknowledge the genocide of Palestinians has a very clear motive: according to a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary 80% of its MPs are tied to the Likud-associated Conservative Friends of Israel; only last November was Priti Patel ousted from Theresa May’s cabinet for failing to declare meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu and lobbyists.
In 2015, the year David Cameron gained a Conservative majority in parliament for the first time since 1992, the UK sold £20 million worth of weapons to Israel; in 2017 the figure was £221 million, a 1100% increase. Amongst the various crude explosives and more advanced targeting technologies that swapped hands between the two nations were components used in sniper rifles. The British contribution to Israeli long-range anti-personnel weaponry has played an integral part in the picking-off of children, journalists and medics on the Gaza side of the fence by the IDF: ‘the most moral army the world has ever known’ according to former Commander of British forces in Afghanistan Richard Kemp.
Entrenched interests within the British political system mean that – until the BDS movement is galvanised to stoke real public pressure on our leaders – Palestinian children will remain behind hedgehogs in the pecking order for the foreseeable future.