“Another House of Lords debate and another outrageous speech from Baroness Tonge on the Middle East. It is time for Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron to expel her once and for all from the party,” she whined.
Tim Farron is a evangelic Christian, but like 47% of fellow Brits dislikes homosexuality.
Dr. Baroness Tonge’s latest crime was – she blamed the Zionist regime for creating Palestinian terror against Israeli Jews during a two-hour debate at UK’s House of Lords. The debate: This House takes note of the conditions in which Palestinian children are living and the impact on their health and wellbeing, moved by Lord Norman Reginald Warner, former health minister, who represented Labour party at the House of Lords since July 29, 1998. Last year quit Labour party over Jeremy Corbyn leadership.
“Let me begin with Gaza, whose children have experienced three military invasions in six years. I saw the destruction wreaked in Gaza after the first two invasions but have been prevented from entering Gaza to see the results of the third. The blockade following it has prevented major reconstruction and Gaza’s children now see themselves sentenced to a lifelong collective prison sentence. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, Save the Children found that “551 children were killed”, compared with one Israeli child, and 3,436 were injured, of whom 10% suffered permanent disability as a result,” Lord Warner said in his opening statement at the debate.
Baroness Tonge spoke of Israeli soldiers’ “shoot first and ask questions later” attitude toward Palestinian children.
Recently an 11 year-old Palestinian boy was helping to gather in the family’s sheep from their grazing area near the Gaza border fence when Israeli soldiers approached on the other side and started firing at him. He was shot in the groin and started to bleed heavily. He was left for three hours—watched, but not assisted in any way, by the soldiers. He was eventually retrieved by his family and taken to hospital, where he had to have both his testicles removed and was in intensive care for several days, his life ruined. I was informed of another shooting by Israeli soldiers of boys playing football, some time ago, again near the fence. The boys received injuries to their feet and legs and will never play football again. They are good shots, the soldiers in the IDF: they aim very well.
I will now refer to the Child Rights Bulletin for the period 1 March to 2 May this year, collated from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. In that two-month period, eight children and a pregnant woman were killed, and 146 Palestinian children and three Israeli children were injured. There were 736 military incursions into the West Bank and 19 into Gaza, and 114 children were arrested in the middle of the night, blindfolded and taken away. We know about their treatment; we have heard about it from the delegation of British lawyers who reported on conditions for those children in 2012.
I have heard it said that these actions are caused by incitement by the Palestinians. The children throw stones and sticks, and some carry scissors or a knife, and the Government of Israel say that this is sufficient reason for the IDF to behave as it does. I question that. What wimps those soldiers must be if, in their helmets and bulletproof vests, armed to the teeth, they are afraid of children throwing stones or carrying scissors. We are also told that the children are encouraged to do these things by the Palestinian Authority, which British taxpayers pay to keep law and order in the territory that Israel occupies. That fact alone needs a separate debate. Why do we pay for this? Why is Israel not paying for its occupation?
The children of Palestine do not need to be told to react against what is happening to them. All around them they see cruel and humiliating treatment of their parents at the checkpoints. They experience poverty and a shortage of food. Settler violence occurs on a daily basis, damaging crops and fields, homes and water supplies. Added to this are house demolitions, families being made homeless, incursions into schools, and damage to playgrounds and open spaces—and I have not even mentioned Gaza yet. Many children now have terrible psychiatric problems, night terrors and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nobody does anything about Israel’s flagrant breaking of international law and the Geneva Convention, or its total lack of respect for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel signed, by the way, in 1991.
This week, I met MPs from Jordan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahrain and some other countries; all were supportive of the Palestinian cause and some wondered whether their Governments should sign trade agreements with us after Brexit if we fail to live up to our responsibilities towards the Palestinians.
Finally, I appeal to those eminent Jewish Peers in this House, who I respect in every way especially for the work that I know that they do with eminent and good Israeli colleagues in Israel. I respect them hugely, but their support for the Israeli Government, particularly over the past few years, is simply not deserved. They could follow Jews for Justice for Palestinians and lead a movement from the Jewish diaspora in this country to make the Government of Israel see sense before they destroy that country from within and take the Middle East and the wider world with her.