21.7.06

The shocking silence from No 10

The shocking silence from No 10 - Comment - Times Online:

Mr Blair, by his silence, seems to be endorsing the US line: allow Israel at least another week to take action against Hezbollah before any calls for a ceasefire are made. He would doubtless argue that, unless he is supportive of the Israelis publicly, he will have no traction with them privately. Yet there are two big problems with this approach.

First, the UK has little traction with Israel anyway. Mr Blair had a frank private conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, when he visited Britain last month. It doesn’t seem to have done much good.

Secondly, and more importantly, Mr Blair’s silence is sending a strong message to the world’s — and particularly Britain’s — Muslim community. By failing to condemn Israel’s overreaction, he is allying himself with those acts. What more powerful ammunition could there be for the radicalisers of Britain’s young Muslims? “Your Government doesn’t care about you and your fellow believers. You need to take action to defend them in this noble cause.”

It is a terrifying prospect. Mr Blair is endangering our nation’s internal security by his reluctance to move a millimetre from the US stance. Even if he is engaging in private diplomacy with Israel, it is not without serious costs to the rest of us. Long after he leaves government, we may be paying the price.

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