Earlier on this evening, British members of parliament staged a cross-party debate and voted for strategic RAF airstrikes in Syria, with the goal of degrading Islamic State. David Cameron said in the House of Commons only today that the proposed airstrikes will make Britain a safer country to live in, though how that is I am not exactly sure.
Our rash and likely emotionally-charged inclination to war has served both the UK and the Middle East poorly before, and seldom are we capable of putting together a sensible, internationally-organised and long-term plan to achieve our military goals.
I am not entirely opposed to war, and nor am I a pacifist. Just last month, I wrote a piece on this blog in which I openly endorsed the prospect of military action on the pre-condition that the British armed forces work with suitable international partners. Please also take the time to read that piece, below:
But here is my problem. We have found ourselves in the midst of yet another obsessive, compulsive need to interfere in regions we aren’t required to interfere in, and we must rely on the utterly unreliable. We seem to have completely forgotten our own blotchy and questionable past military endeavours; many of which resulted in the kind of territorial disasters we aimed to prevent in the first place.
There is, though, one conflict very much on-going in the Middle East which this country has ignored, (likely out of sheer embarrassment) and whose development arose directly as a result of the 1920 British Mandate for the geographical region of Palestine.
Only this week, Israel have announced new restrictions on Gaza’s Palestinians seeking medical treatment, with those under the age of 55 now having to undergo thorough security checks in order to establish eligibility for operations and medical procedures in Israel or the West Bank.
And so forgive me for brushing down the importance of today’s Syria vote in the House of Commons, but I really think Britain’s attention in the Middle East is best served elsewhere. The more Israeli and Palestinian blood spilled, the more I am sickened by the British Empire’s shameful distribution of the region of Palestine.
Yes, our part in the destabilisation of Syria and the Levant cannot be completely forgotten, but in no way can it be compared to the disgraceful neglect we have shown towards the people of Gaza, West Bank and Israel. Islamic State are accountable for their own mass-murdering, Bashar Al-Assad is responsible for his own repression of Syrian citizens, and interference on the part of Hezbollah and the Kurds can’t be attributed to British activity either.
The 90-year dispute concerning the inhabitants of Palestine has, in my mind, been overlooked by our media, and by the international community. Not enough is being done by Britain, the US or the United Nations to help bring about long-lasting peace for both Arabs and Jews. It offends me to my very core that we have given hundreds of column inches and hours of broadcasting time to jihad in Syria, when children in both Israel and Palestine are being slaughtered by our historical incompetence daily.
I didn’t want to make this post particularly long, so I will leave it here for now. Britain is set to embark on yet another international bombing campaign in Syria, whilst refusing to accept liability for the damage it has caused just a few miles to the south.
I would laugh, if it wasn’t so serious.