United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. You may not have heard of it, and so will not appreciate its significance. This can be put directly: 242 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council in the aftermath of the Six-Day War of 1967. Its first provision was the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied during that conflict.
As early as next Wednesday, it proposes to annex around 30% of the West Bank. This is also illegal under international law. So it was to the Labour Party’s credit that they made an unequivocal intervention, with shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy telling “The proposal to unilaterally annex nearly a third of the West Bank is an illegal act which will undermine the prospect of a peaceful two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and has serious implications for the stability of the Middle East”. And there was more.
“This is a major step, but such a blatant breach of international law must have consequences. It will take a level of courage that so far ministers have not been willing to show”. Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has objected to the Israeli proposal. But he has otherwise done nothing. Labour’s move has the backing of new party leader Keir Starmer, who is now under attack from a familiar quarter.a piece authored by smear merchant Lee Harpin, has told “Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has urged Sir Keir Starmer to reject a proposal from his shadow foreign secretary calling for the UK to ban the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank if the Israeli government presses ahead with annexation plans”. There was more.
Ms van der Zyl added “The tactic of BDS is divisive and seeks to strike at the very legitimacy of the State of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish State”. But objecting to an illegal act does not impugn the legitimacy of Israel. Annexation is an illegal act; it was illegal when Russia did in with Crimea, and it is an illegal act if Israel does it with part of the West Bank.
And coming so soon after the news cycle featured accusations of Labour anti-Semitism, it is clear is that the BoD senses sufficient weakness to bend Starmer to their will (the Tories, meanwhile, increasingly controlled by chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, who wouldn’t know international law from a hole in the ground, will do nothing).
This is one game of Call My Bluff where Keir Starmer is not going to yield. End of story.