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‘Double standards!’ Palestinian ambassador Zomlot lambasts West

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Head of the Palestinian mission to the United Kingdom, Husam Zomlot, lambasted the West for apparent double standards. [Picture: BBC HardTalk]


In what has been described as a shocking moment on live television, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom has lambasted the international community, particularly the West, for allowing the situation in his country to deteriorate.

In an interview on the BBC, Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian mission to the UK, said he felt “regret that the international community has not heeded our warnings for all these years” and “regret that this was allowed to fester for decades”. He then took a swipe at the public broadcaster for paying attention “only because blood has been spilled”.

Hamas launched land, sea and air attacks against occupying Israel on Saturday. Since fighting broke out, at least 700 Gazans, including 140 children were killed by Israeli attacks. On the Israeli side, the death toll stood at no less than 900.

“Every loss of life is regrettable, of course, and tragic. The question is how do we stop this? How do we provide an alternative path? How do we learn the lessons and the mistakes of the past? How do we treat the Palestinian people after 100 years of suffering, equally to all other nations? How do we stop this demise into the mayhem that you have described?” Zomlot probed while on air.


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Zomlot slams international community

Straightening out the fact the tension between Palestine and Israel was not only “about the last 48 hours”, Zomlot said the ongoing mayhem was a demonstration of the Palestinian’s determination for freedom.

He also accused the West of maintaining double standards – for forcefully condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while remaining silent on Israel’s atrocities in Palestine.

“This has been ongoing for more than 100 years. It started here … in this very city [London]. It was Britain that gave our rights away without even consulting us and then this whole international, Western approach to us has been a dismal failure,” he said.

Zomlot then suggested a different path be taken in resolving the situation, “because there is no other alternative”.

“We, the Palestine national movement, we the PLO, have given that alternative avenue 30 years ago. We have recognised Israel. We have committed to negotiations and nonviolence. We have committed to international law and resolutions. Israel was supposed to do one thing: end its occupation and stop its colonial settlement expansion. It did not do this.”


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Militant approach

The visibly flustered host then went on to ask whether the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) supported the militant approach of Hamas. Zomlot refused to answer, saying instead that he was “not here to condemn anybody”.
He added, “If [there’s] anybody that needs to be condemned, it’s what you call the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’, Israel, because it is targeting civilians not just in the last 48 hours”.

Refusing to accept responsibility for the actions of Hamas, since it was not part of the Palestinian national government, Zomlot said it was unfair to equate any actors in the Palestinian movement with Israel.

“Please don’t draw any symmetry here. Don’t equate between the Occupied and the Occupier. This doesn’t serve justice to understand, for your audience and viewers, the real situation”.

He then highlighted Israel was an occupier who had acted in a horrendous manner, without consequence, for the past seven decades and longer.

“We need to make sure that Israel is not the exception. It has been for the last 75 years. We need to make sure that nobody is above the law. Britain is renowned … for the rule of law. I think that’s the solution. Israel is an occupying force … it must be held accountable by the international community and the international judicial system,” he said.


Meanwhile, South Africa’s foreign affairs minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, postponed a trip to Gaza. Julie Allie spoke to Faizel Patel about this development. Listen to the interview here.

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