February 23, 2010
Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, addressed the 110th Anniversary Dinner of the British Zionist Federation on sunday night.
He spoke of his admiration for Israel’s support for the British army and the way the Israeli army went about Operation Cast Lead in trying to limit Palestinian civilian casualties.
His speech built on his brief testimony (see footage below) to the United Nations Human Rights Council Emergency Session on 16th October 2009 when he said:
“The IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
On Sunday night Colonel Kemp told his audience of how a Brigadier-General in the IDF, its leading expert on suicide bombings, advised him in detail about suicide bombings when he first arrived in Afghanistan on 2003.
This advice formed the basis of the British army’s doctrine for dealing with suicide bombings.
He drew the comparison of Israel’s fight against Hamas and Hezbollah and that of Britain’s against Jaish al-Mahdi which was “responsible for killing large numbers of American and British soldiers in Iraq”.
He pointed out that Hamas, Hezbollah, Jaish al-Mahdi and the Taliban are all motivated, trained and armed by Iran.
The difference, he said, between British forces and the Israeli army was that British forces do not go into battle knowing they will be condemned by the media and respected international bodies, like the UN, and accused of the most horrific things.
He then went on to describe how Hamas, Hezbollah, Jaish al-Mahdi and the Taliban all fight from amongst their own civilians: “They deliberately sacrifice their own people.”
“Hamas did this in Gaza and the Taliban does it still in Afghanistan to protect themselves and discredit Israel and Britain in the eyes of the media when civilian casualties occur. Also children, some mentally disabled, and women are used to carry out suicide bombings.”
“14-year-old boys are forced to push towards British troops bomb-laden carts which are then detonated remotely leaving the child dead. The Taliban also use old women in battle and booby-trap mosques, store weapons in them and fire from them.”
“There is no depth they will not stoop to in order to protect themselves and discredit our forces, whether they are fighting the Israelis in Gaza or American and British troops in Afghanistan. The same tactics are used without any regard to human life whatsoever.”
Colonel Kemp discussed Operation Cast Lead and the amount of human intelligence recruited to target Hamas specifically: “Palestinians were also recruited despite Hamas reintroducing crucifixion to deal with spies.”
He said that Israeli pilots were allowed to abort a mission if not satisfied that civilians were not at risk. He referred to the three hour unilateral ceasefire during Operation Cast Lead which no other nation would consider knowing that the enemy would use it to rearm.
“Israel delivered aid to to the civilians in Gaza knowing Hamas would confiscate much of it and nearly one million leaflets were dropped warning of where and when a raid was coming while 30,000 phone calls were made warning of coming attacks.”
He mentioned that mistakes are made by American, British and Israeli troops in the middle of a battle: “But these are not the same as war crimes. And just like with the British and American armies, any misdemeanours in the Israeli army are investigated.”
He finished off by saying that while Ahmadinejad was still in power in Iran there would be no peace in the Middle East and that “a lot of the adverse propaganda is based on anti-Semitism or anti-Israel sentiment. Dark forces are at work which are exploiting the media”.
Yuli Edelstein, Minister of Public Affairs and the Diaspora in the Israeli government, also spoke. There was a small anti-Israel demonstration outside the event.