Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“…look at Israel – a democracy, a country with the rule of law, a country with armed forces that are committed to obeying the rule of law”

Lord David Cameron, Foreign Secretary, Sky News

Facts

In a Sky TV interview with Trevor Phillips, Foreign Secretary David Cameron described Israel as a democracy, adding that its armed forces “are committed to obeying the rule of law.”

Cameron made his remarks as he rebutted the charge of genocide being aimed at Israel by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The British foreign secretary was making three points in order to defend Israel from the ultimate crime of Genocide. 

First, he claims Israel is a democracy. This claim is contested by Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and Al-Haq, who all conclude that Israel is an apartheid state.

Secondly, Cameron claims there is a “rule of law”. The rule of law does exist inside Israel, but not in the occupied territories. Israeli-based human rights organisation B’Tselem finds that Palestinians do not “enjoy the same rights as Jewish citizens by either law or practice.”

Thirdly, Cameron says that Israeli soldiers are “committed to obeying the rule of law.”

The South Africa case cites a Human Rights Council report, which found that – between the 29th September 2000 and the 7th October 2023 – Israeli snipers had “intentionally shot” children, knowing them to be children. 

According to the United Nations’ Security Council, killing or seriously injuring a child counts as a “Grave Violation.”

The ICJ case also states that Israeli snipers “intentionally shot” health workers and journalists, “despite seeing that they were clearly marked as such.”

In a statement shared to Breaking the Silence, one anonymous First Sergeant recalls a colleague shooting at a press van: ‘… when a car passed there, a press van … he started firing at it. Just like that in the middle of the road – bang, bang, bang, bang.’

Breaking The Silence does not mention whether or not charges were pressed.

Israel began the war withholding food, water and electricity from Gaza. Giora Eiland (former head of the Israeli National Security Council and a government advisor) wrote: “This is what Israel has begun to do – we cut the supply of energy, water and diesel to the Strip … But it’s not enough. In order to make the siege effective, we have to prevent others from giving assistance to Gaza … The people should be told that they have two choices; to stay and to starve, or to leave. If Egypt and other countries prefer that these people will perish in Gaza, this is their choice.”

According to US President Joe Biden at a fundraising event with donors in December, Israel is conducting “indiscriminate bombing”. Indiscriminate bombing under international law means bombing that does not distinguish between military targets and protected persons. It is a war crime.

It is a proven and undeniable fact – impossible to dispute – that Israel has repeatedly reneged on promises of safety and bombed areas that it advised civilians to flee to. 

 Israeli media has reported based on several Israeli intelligence sources that the military has authorised bombing private residences, public buildings and infrastructures. It categorises them as “power targets” and justifies bombing them to “create a shock” in Palestinian civil society in order to “lead civilians to put pressure on Hamas”. 

Several intelligence sources confirmed that the Israeli army’s intelligence units know shortly before each attack how many civilians are certain to be killed. In one case the Israeli military command “knowingly approved the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an attempt to assassinate a single top Hamas military commander.”

One source said: “When a 3-year-old girl is killed in a home in Gaza, it’s because someone in the army decided it wasn’t a big deal for her to be killed — that it was a price worth paying in order to hit [another] target.”

Verdict

Cameron was wrong to say that Israel’s armed forces are ‘committed to obeying the rule of law.’ Israeli soldiers have repeatedly breached the laws of war.

We emailed Lord David Cameron’s office and the FCDO offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Client Journalism

Note the failure of Trevor Phillips to challenge Cameron’s claims that Israel is a “a democracy, a country with the rule of law, a country with armed forces that are committed to obeying the rule of law.”

To be fair to Phillips, he is far from alone. Most mainstream British journalists have long failed to seriously challenge British complicity with Israeli abuses of human rights.

We emailed the Sky News offering them the chance to respond. The email was received but no reply.

Published 28 Jun 2024 / Last Updated 03 Jul 2024
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