UK should answer Israeli annexation with harsh economic sanctions, MPs say.
(Times of Israel 13 May 2020)
Yes, the United Kingdom with its long history of invading, colonising, and occupying, just about everywhere, has the temerity to threaten Israel for formally annexing its own territory.
The MPs have a lot more to learn. For a start they should know that when the West Bank was annexed by Jordan on April 24, 1950, Great Britain did not call for harsh economic sanctions but was one of just two countries to recognise the annexation (together with that bastion of democracy, Pakistan).
They might consider the UK’s reaction to Argentina’s attempt to regain control over its territory, the Malvinas. Calling them the Falkland Islands, the UK claimed the islands, located just 1,521 kilometres from Argentina, to be their very own, even though they are 12,955 km from the UK. They went to war to support their claim.
The MPs probably know that the UK has much experience in determining the fate of lands they do not own. Back in the early years of the twentieth century, while the outcome of the First World War was still in doubt and we Jews were known as Palestinians, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration. This much disputed document, replete with many deliberate ambiguities and weasel words, announced support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Just before the declaration was released, the Cabinet had discussed at some length the benefits that support from worldwide Jewish communities would bring to the Allied war effort.
The people of Ireland know all about annexation. England first colonised the island during the years 1536–1691 with an influx of Protestant settlers. This transformed Irish society from a local, clan-based, structure to a centralised, monarchical, state-governed society. In 1541 the UK’s King Henry VIII declared the new Kingdom of Ireland, effectively annexing Ireland, with local power going to the newly dominant British Protestants.
At present, the UK claims territories all around the world, with a total population of about 250,000 people, as British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, each under the yoke of Elizabeth II as their reigning monarch. From Tristan da Cunha with just 300 inhabitants to the Virgin Islands, home to some 32,000, the UK’s annexations have spread relentlessly.
And before they consider their ‘harsh economic sanctions’ the MPs in question would do well to remember that trade is a two-way street. Exports of services and goods from the UK to Israel surpass £1bn a year. But the UK has nothing unique to offer, there are many alternative suppliers out there, eager for our business. And the UK enjoys the fruits of our many hi-tech and medical exports. Do the MPs really want to lose these?
I would like to detail Israel’s exports to the UK in an annex to this blog, but I don’t want to upset the MPs – they are very sensitive to annexation.