UK Peace Camp Defends Hamas

The slaughter inflicted on Israeli civilians at the hands of Hamas still hasn’t served as a wake up call to Britain’s peace camp. At the pro Palestine demonstration that took place on Monday night there was a festive mood. And why not? Hamas had just scored a great victory over the Israel Defence Force. Demonstrators can be seen in videos on social media singing songs and chanting about intifada. Without any word on the massacres of Israeli civilians.

On Monday thousands of people stood outside the Israeli embassy and screamed their support to “liberate al Aqsa” at the urging of Shamiul Joarder of  Friends of al Aqsa. A speaker from the Palestinian Forum in Britain claimed from the stage that “In the coming days, we will see massive and tragic loss of life and Zionism is solely responsible.”

This wasn’t as bad as the support for “Palestinian resistance” that was evident on campus at the School of Oriental and African Studies where a crowd cheered the head of a society as he proclaimed that “Our thoughts right now are with the Palestinian martyrs, their families, the Palestinian resistance fighters who fought beside their lands every day”. They later chanted “Resistance is justified when people are colonised”.

Lindsay German convenor of the Stop The War Coalition spoke at the Monday evening demonstration to say “They are already claiming that while what Hamas did was awful it only happened because the Israelis are treating Palestinians badly and have been for a long time”.

Those making the vacuous argument that if you live in Gaza it is understandable for you to engage in wanton slaughter because Israel has made living conditions untenable are themselves part of the problem. Over and above the fact that the various restrictions that have cumulatively been imposed on the Gaza Strip have evolved over time to keep Israelis safe from Hamas, the rhetorical sleight of hand that claims that by living in Gaza you become a murderer of children and a rapist is, or should be, self-evidently nonsensical.

It’s time to push back against the rhetoric of groups like the Socialist Workers Party who are claiming that “the magnificent Palestinian resistance now faces the might of Western-backed Israeli vengeance” without pausing for a second to consider that after the wanton slaughter inflicted upon Israel it is Hamas who are responsible for what comes next.

The Stop the War Coalition have advertised a demonstration for this Saturday. They don’t mention the massacre conducted by Hamas. They claim “This conflict will only be resolved when the Palestinians achieve freedom and their persecution is ended.” I beg to differ. When Hamas had freedom, when it broke the fences and took over the military bases surrounding the Gaza Strip they went in their hundreds to nearby Israeli towns and villages and massacred the people living in them.

Contrary to popular belief this conflict will only be resolved when Palestinians find a way to banish Hamas from their political reality. If Britain’s so called peace activists really cared about Palestinians they would dedicate themselves to helping them do this.