The British government issued an extraordinary rebuke to the Obama administration last night because of their criticism of the Israeli government.
The row broke out after Secretary of State John Kerry made a speech yesterday afternoon criticising Israel over its continued building of illegal settlements in land owned by Palestinians.
Kerry had described the Israeli government as the “most rightwing coalition in Israeli history” and said the expansion of settlements would lead to a “one state [solution] and perpetual occupation”.
May’s spokesperson said in response:
We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. The government believes that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties, supported by the international community.
What’s extraordinary about May’s intervention is that it came after a UN vote where the UK also voted to condemn Israeli settlement expansion.
In fact a Haaretz investigation found that the UK had a key hand in drafting and pushing that resolution.
So the Israeli government won’t be impressed at all with Theresa May’s intervention. They’re not that gullible.
UK government "rebukes US" over Israel – but UK did vote for UN resolution on settlements (on which USA abstained). https://t.co/vgN5Jjfi4C
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) December 29, 2016
Quite so. May is attacking Obama even after UK voted against Israel. How stupid does she think a) Israel b) US c) Jews d) Palestinians are? https://t.co/f5nJQhZGD6
— Denis MacShane (@DenisMacShane) December 29, 2016
In fact a US spokesperson highlighted this in response to May’s rebuke last night:
We are surprised by the UK Prime Minister’s office statement given that Secretary Kerry’s remarks—which covered the full range of threats to a two state solution, including terrorism, violence, incitement and settlements—were in-line with the UK’s own longstanding policy and its vote at the United Nations last week.
So what is she playing at?
May’s rebuke is an attempt to please Donald Trump instead, who doesn’t know much about international diplomacy and just wants people to agree with him.
Trump earlier had criticised Kerry and Obama for their stance.
It is likely that Boris Johnson – desperate to curry favour with Trump – had a hand in this mess.
Either way, this cack-handed attempt to flirt with Trump makes the UK look foolish on the world stage