Clappison slams Hamas following Israel flotilla raid
HERTSMERE MP James Clappison has launched a stinging attack on Hamas as international condemnation of Israel grows in the wake of its deadly assault on a convoy of aid ships heading for the Gaza Strip.
Writing for The Jewish Chronicle newspaper, the Tory backbencher described Israel’s commando raid on the flotilla, which left nine people dead, as a “calamity,” and added his backing to calls for an inquiry into the tragedy.
However, Mr Clappison also urged people not to “lose sight of the bigger picture” and implored them to remember what Hamas - the Palestinian militant movement that has controlled Gaza since 2007 - stands for.
The 53-year-old former barrister wrote: “At the heart of Hamas’ radical ideology is its totalitarian, theological charter, which advocates homicide and genocide.
“It calls not just for the creation of an Islamic state and the destruction of Zionism but for the destruction of the Jewish people.”
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Mr Clappison, who is the vice chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, described those who regarded Hamas as victims of Israeli oppression as naive and warned against bringing the group “into the fold of the international community”.
He continued: “Israel doesn’t always get everything right but democracy and rule of law are central and, when mistakes are made, the people of Israel can, and do, change their leaders.
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“In our reaction to the (flotilla raid), we must not do anything which emboldens Hamas to pursue its course of aggression and rejection.
“To hand such a propaganda coup to Hamas paves the way for future conflict.”
As for the UK Government’s reaction to the assault, he added: “We in the UK must not lose sight of the fact that, to have any hope of peace in the Middle East, we should continue to pressure Hamas to change its ways.
“Hamas needs to know that we will not reward its terror tactics and that the fundamental issues of getting it to renounce violence, stop smuggling and distance itself from Iran, will form the core of our policy.
“On this, the Government must remain resolute.”