Why this MP thinks Is­rael ‘needs Kas­sam at­tacks’

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY DANA GLOGER

AN MP who last month came un­der Kas­sam rocket fire has said he be­lieves the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment needs such at­tacks on its cit­i­zens in or­der to jus­tify its “ruth­less” re­tal­i­a­tion on Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries.

Tom Le­vitt, Labour MP for High Peak, was on a fact-find­ing mis­sion to Is­rael and the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries, or­gan­ised by Caabu, the Coun­cil for the Ad­vance­ment of Arab-Bri­tish Un­der­stand­ing, when a rocket landed around 50 me­tres away from him and three other MPs.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened as Mr Le­vitt, Brian Id­don, Labour MP for Bolton South East, Lib-Dem MP for Brent East Sarah Teather and Swin­don South Labour MP Anne Snel­grove, who is also a mem­ber of Labour Friends of Is­rael, were leav­ing Gaza.

While go­ing through the Erez cross­ing, they heard the rocket, fired from a Pales­tinian vil­lage to­wards Is­rael.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence has given me some idea of how peo­ple feel when they come un­der rocket at­tack.

“I now know the mo­ment of hor­ror when you hear that sound and the emo­tion that that brings,” Mr Le­vitt said. “But there is a great deal of dif­fer­ence be­tween the pa­thetic and ama­teur way in which cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als lob Kas­sams over the border into Is­rael, and the ruth­less dis­re­gard for hu­man life in how Is­rael re­tal­i­ates.

“I got the im­pres­sion that Is­rael needs th­ese mor­tar bombs to fall on it, in or­der to be able to re­tal­i­ate.”

He said that if Is­rael spent “a frac­tion of the money” cur­rently be­ing spent on the border cross­ing, on hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues in­stead, “there would not be the level of con­flict that there is now”.

A spokesper­son for the Is­rael Em­bassy in Lon­don said: “It is un­for­tu­nate that mem­bers of Par­lia­ment en­gage in vil­i­fy­ing Is­rael in­stead of per­suad­ing the Pales­tini­ans to cease launch­ing Kas­sam rock­ets at Is­raeli civil­ians, one of which even al­most hit them dur­ing their visit to Is­rael.”

Tom Le­vitt MP saw rock­ets at first hand

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