UK Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the blockade of the Gaza Strip, describing the territory as a "prison camp".
...He was speaking to an audience of businessmen during a visit to Ankara.
..."Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp," Mr Cameron said.
"People in Gaza are living under constant attacks and pressure in an open-air prison," he said.
Here's some clear thinking:-
David Cameron panders to Turkey -- at Israel's expense
..."The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable," Cameron said. Then he added: "Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."
A prison camp? Israel's enemies are fond of using that term, with its implicit hint that the Jewish state has adopted the policies of Nazi Germany. But according to the BBC, no British prime minister has ever spoken so harshly of Israel's handling of Gaza.
Asked about it later, Cameron protested that he was only repeating what he had said in a House of Commons debate several weeks ago. But the Guardian checked: in that instance, the prime minister referred to Gaza as "a giant open prison," not a prison camp...
What ever happened to the Cameron of the Conservative Friends of Israel?
Maybe Tony Blair could help him out to grasp Middle East realities?
After all, he was quoted:
"For people like myself it would be far better if we were engaging with Hamas constructively. The difficulty is when Hamas are still prepared to say 'we don't give up the use of violence ...'," he said.
UPDATED (July 28, 2010; 09:35)
Just received this:
After much consideration and consultation with Executive Board Chairman, Andrew Heller and Parliamentary Board Chairman, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, Stuart Polak, Director of CFI has released the following statement to the press.
“In calling Gaza a ‘prison camp’ the Prime Minister has failed to address Hamas’ role in creating the Gaza we see today. The organisation’s obsessive hatred for Israel and continued terrorist tactics have long overridden any concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people.
“The Prime Minister should be calling on Turkey to play a positive role in tackling Hamas; to ensure that Hamas accepts the Quartet Principles and to insist on the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.
“The Prime Minister’s words certainly did not reflect the wider context and I’m sure this will be urgently addressed by the Government. This oversight is regrettable as he has never pulled any punches where Hamas are concerned. Describing Hamas as a theocracy who target innocent life, he has always been very clear on what sort of organization they are and that there should be no moral equivalence with Israel.”
It is our view that the PM’s failure to make any mention of the role of Hamas in the ME in his speech in Turkey was a serious oversight. Especially, considering the Conservative Party’s excellent track record on Hamas.
This statement has already been picked up by Conservative Home and we believe the Jewish Press will print the statement as well as perhaps some of the national papers.
Be assured we will continue our work with the Conservative Party and with the Coalition Government on this issue.
Conservative Friends of Israel
Well, a bit of Brit contretemps.
And Melanie Phillips.
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