British Foreign Secretary Issues Strongest Attack Yet on Israel

Lord Carrington, the British Foreign Secretary, last night accused Israel of conducting a “damaging policy” over the West Bank and of making peace much more difficult to achieve.

In his sharpest attack yet on Israeli policy, Carrington rejected the strong Israeli criticism of the recent European Economic Community (EEC) initiative which had called for the Palestine Liberation Organization to be associated with peace negotiations.

Denying that this constituted official recognition of the PLO, Carrington told members of the House of Lords that he remained convinced that the proposals by the nine EEC countries at the Venice summit last month were “balanced and constructive” and a basis for a settlement.

Switching to the offensive, he said: “It cannot be repeated too often that the continuing expansion of settlements in the occupied territories makes the achievement of peace much more difficult. Our fundamental commitment to Israel does not and cannot extend to her actions as an occupying power. I continue to hope that wisdom will prevail over this damaging policy.”

RECYCLING ISRAEL’S INTEREST

This is one of the strongest British attacks on Israel and follows the allegation by Shlomo Argov, Israel’s Ambassador, that European countries were trying to “recycle” Israel’s vital interest in exchange for the continued goodwill of the oil-producing countries. Argov’s statement was itself a reply to a lecture by Foreign Office Minister of State Douglas Hurd to a mainly Jewish audience.

Carrington’s speech yesterday, like the earlier statements, reflects the widening gap between the government and the Anglo-Jewish community over Britain’s Middle East policy. Although less than half of one percent of the British population, and backing the electoral clout of Jewries in the U.S. and France, the Anglo-Jewish community wields considerable influence.

Carrington’s speech, therefore, probably heralds further early attempts by the British government to undermine Jewish support – both here and elsewhere – for Israel’s foreign policy.

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