Israel's new gangster government should be shunned and condemned by UK – Kenny MacAskill

There’s been much said by the UK Government about the evils of Iran and Russia and I’m not going to disagree. But you’re also judged by the friends you keep, not simply the paragon of virtue you seek to portray yourself as.

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Israeli parliament as his new government is sworn in last month (Picture: Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Israeli parliament as his new government is sworn in last month (Picture: Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The UK’s unseemly closeness to Saudi Arabia has long been challenged, with executions and state murders of journalists there overlooked as money from the arms trade keeps ker-chinging into the coffers of Tory pals. But now the hypocrisy’s further exposed with their welcoming of the latest Israeli government. The latest administration has meant its been far from a Happy Christmas in the Holy Land.

Leaving aside my sympathies for the Palestinian cause, this is the nadir in what has been a descent from what seem heady days with the likes of Golda Meir or Yitzak Rabin. When Menachim Begin became Prime Minister, there was a lurch to the right. His background as the leader of the Irgun, a terrorist organisation which had killed British soldiers, often in cold blood, during the operation of the British mandate was cast aside.

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He was later followed by Ariel Sharon who moved us from terrorism to full-blooded war with his actions as military leader in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. That wasn’t just an incursion but an assault on innocents.

Now it’s Netanyahu, who has been Prime Minister before and is a man who puts Trump and Berlusconi in the shade for alleged dodgy dealings and self-enrichment. His re-election even under that dark cloud of suspicion and investigation is bad enough. It’s worsened though by who he’s gone into coalition with to ensure power. These aren’t just right-wingers but extreme ultra-nationalists. It’s not a defence of Israel as other Israel PMs would have argued for. It’s a step towards the obliteration of the Palestinian people with those deemed Israeli Arabs living in an apartheid society.

We’ve already seen provocative actions by the new national security minister at shared religious sites. But it’s compounded by proposals to undermine the judiciary. All this as 2022 saw a horrendous death toll of Palestinians and repeated incursions into Palestinian lands.

This is a gangster government and they should be shunned, as their actions must be condemned.

Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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