Netanyahu must face a war crimes tribunal for his pursuit of this brutal war

It’s Valentine’s Day so love must be in the air. Really? Tell that to the one million Palestinians crowded and cowed into Rafa (usual population 170,000) awaiting bombardment from Israeli forces. Or to the 130 Jewish hostages who, if not already slaughtered, are still held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.


The US is reportedly trying to negotiate a six-week pause in the fighting leading to a total ceasefire. But it won’t happen for one simple reason; Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to wage war until total victory over Hamas is declared. But that won’t happen either because by deploying such force that 28,000 (and counting) innocent men, women, children and new-born babies have died, what he is actually doing is creating a recruiting sergeant for terror groups.


History proves my point; the killing of 14 unarmed civil rights marchers by the Paras in Derry 52 years ago swelled the ranks of the Provisional IRA like no expensive recruitment campaign ever could. It will happen in the Middle East, indeed it probably is right now.


Netanyahu is the block to negotiations; the White House and the rest of the democratic world want talks but the Israeli leader so far won’t budge. No wonder Biden has called him ‘an asshole’, thus proving that maybe the old boy isn’t quite as senile as he otherwise appears.


Britain is similarly frustrated but Rishi Sunak won’t admit it. The Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, has come closest and as a result looks increasingly prime ministerial (again.) My Jewish friends want a ceasefire, realising that the greater the civilian death toll in Gaza, the greater the  likelihood of anti-Semitism here and around the world.


It is a deeply depressing mess which is likely to grind on for much longer because only White House withdrawal of all support for Israel would have an effect. And in election year in a nation with more Jews in the States than in Israel that’s a non-starter.


I believe that Netanyahu should face a war crimes tribunal for his conduct of this war. We all know the evil Hamas started it by killing 1,200 mostly non-combatant Israelis and the aim of destroying the terrorists is the right one. But the way Netanyahu has gone about it is to use force so disproportionate as to be counter productive. The bombing of hospitals and schools, the destruction of 70 per cent of homes in Gaza and the elimination of any healthcare system cannot be justified.


Aid agencies are doing heroic work at enormous risk to their own brave people and will not give up. But nor it seems will Israel’s Prime Minister.


Unless, that is, the growing unrest among his colleagues in the right-wing Likud party becomes a revolt. We can only hope.


 Meanwhile...what a mess America is. I have yet to discover what is preventing the Democrats from tapping Joe Biden on the shoulder and asking him, politely, to kindly leave the stage. It’s not too late and there are much younger and mentally fitter candidates who would take on the odious Trump in November, should he be free to run as the Republican candidate.


Speaking of whom, Trump is a narcissistic liar, a serial bankrupt, guilty of offences against women (not to mention plain decency) and is facing an avalanche of charges both criminal and civil. His latest brainwave is to encourage his friend Putin to invade any Nato country that doesn’t pay its defence bill.


The Supreme Court can stop him from standing in the presidential election when it rules on last week’s decision by a lower court that, ex-president or not, he is not entitled to immunity over his attempts to defraud the nation of the 2020 result.


If it does uphold the verdict Trump can probably kiss goodbye to another run at the White house. Good result? Of course, except that his crazed worshippers like the mad QAnon conspiracy freaks will take to the streets as they did when storming the Capitol four years ago. And you can be certain Trump will be orchestrating their efforts no matter the consequences.


God Bless America!


 As for politics here... The Tories are a shambles, the Lib Dems are led by an idiot who will do anything not to say sorry for his role in the Post Office scandal, and now Labour makes a Horlicks of the Azher Ali affair. First  it said it had accepted his apology, then that was reversed. So Ali will stand in the Rochdale by-election as a Labour candidate already disowned by his party. They might have to resort to voting for the poisonous George Galloway.


As Harold Macmillan said: ‘Events dear boy, events.’


Let’s return to St Valentine. I shall be spending lunch in a very distinguished gathering, all of whom contribute to this fine organ. Dumpster will be present, no doubt pressing the Editor for a return of Country Boys (yes please) and so will Messrs Dismore and Pilton. Alas our dear old chum Tel cannot make it but in his place will be someone called Chris Williams.


All together now: Love is all around!


14 February 2024