Well, well, well. What’s all this then? Uncle Vince has announced the suspension of 12 export licenses to Israel. Here’s what he said:
‘We welcome the current ceasefire in Gaza and hope that it will lead to a peaceful resolution. However the UK Government has not been able to clarify if the export licence criteria are being met. In light of that uncertainty we have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licences in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.
‘No new licences of military equipment have been issued for use by the Israeli Defence Force during the review period and as a precautionary measure this approach will continue until hostilities cease.’
Immediately after this garbled announcement was made Lib Dem spinners bombarded the Lobby’s inboxes, and pleaded to be quoted. Apparently:
‘This is a coalition and this is as far as we have been able to reach in collective agreement with the Conservatives.’
What rot. The continued suspension of export licenses, on the wholly unsatisfactory grounds of ‘uncertainty’ even after a review, strikes Mr S as a serious business. The government’s policy rejects Israel’s right to defend itself if (or should that be when?) it is next attacked by Hamas.
So how much further do the Liberal Democrats want to go? Open condemnation of Israel? A permanent boycott, maybe? Arm Hamas?
Perhaps one of the party’s many unofficial Middle East spokesmen will clarify the matter for us when they make another of their colourful interventions about 'the Jews', because the spun line is specious nonsense.