Anne Penketh: Lack of condemnation as good as approval for Israel

Israel will consider that it has a green light to pursue its strategic goal of bringing down Hamas in the Gaza Strip in the absence of international condemnation and a power vacuum in the United States for three more weeks.

The initial reaction from Britain and the United States will have been interpreted in Israel as weak. Neither Gordon Brown nor the Foreign Office called on Israel to halt its bombing raids as the Palestinian death toll rose. But a Downing Street spokesman called on the "Gazan militants" to "cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately".

Mr Brown's expression of concern revived uncomfortable memories of his predecessor Tony Blair who rejected international calls for a ceasefire by Israel during its 34-day war on Lebanon in 2006. Only yesterday, after the UN Security Council had spoken, did the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, call for an "immediate halt to all violence". In Washington, while the White House called for restraint, Condoleezza Rice, the outgoing Secretary of State, unequivocally blamed the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel for provoking the bloodiest strikes on Gaza in living memory.

Israel can also profit from the divisions in the Arab world, where states such as Egypt and Jordan share its concerns about the Hamas extremists, although the Arab "street" is unanimous in its support of the Palestinians as the demonstrations from Damascus to Baghdad showed.

The Security Council statement mentioned neither Israel nor Hamas by name while calling for an "immediate halt to all violence". By failing to apportion blame, the statement allowed both sides in the conflict to claim diplomatic support. The Palestinian representative, Riyad Mansour, said it was clearly aimed at Israel and that the Palestinians would now be waiting to see if Israel stopped its "aggression". But the US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said: "Clearly, in that context, Israel has the right of self-defence and nothing in this press statement should be read as anything but that."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments