As the dust settles over Gaza, and Israel’s Iron Dome sensors cool, minds inevitably turn to the lessons that can be learned from the 11-day conflict that cost hundreds of lives.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the American secretary of state Antony Blinken, and other international dignitaries have visited the region and offered their carefully calibrated support for ‘both sides’ delivering high-handed lectures on the ethics of asymmetric warfare in densely populated urban sprawl.
Sadly, however, the British government has become part of the problem. It may have deep military and security ties to the Jewish state, but there lurks an elephant in the room. London itself has been allowed to become one of the world’s most important Hamas hubs.
For years, Whitehall has looked the other way while NGOs allegedly linked to Hamas raise millions of pounds a year, which (according to Israeli intelligence) is funnelled into the terror group’s coffers. In other words, these are British pounds raining down on the heads of Israeli civilians in the form of lethal rockets. And nothing is being done about it.
This week, the Board of Deputies – British Jewry’s main representative body – held an emergency meeting with the Prime Minister, at which it called for Hamas’ political wing to be banned in Britain. At present only the military wing of Hamas is proscribed by the UK government. Boris Johnson offered warm words but nothing concrete.
In an exclusive interview this week with the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, the Jewish Chronicle asked him the same question. Dowden responded by passing the buck to the Home Office (though he pointed out that he had pressed for Hezbollah to be proscribed in its entirety when he was a backbencher).
For all these good intentions, more urgency is required.