Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Former British Troops Commander on Possible Israel-Hamas Ceasefire: “I’m Skeptical” of How Long it Can Last (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

November 20, 2012 4:52 pm 6 comments

Col. Richard Kemp. Photo: Wikipedia

Colonel Richard Kemp knows a thing or two about warfare. The former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan spent 28 years serving in his country’s army. His experience makes him exceptionally well versed on the difficulties facing Israel as they battle Hamas. An outspoken supporter of Israel, he has championed its armed forces even in the face of  harsh criticism levied by the Goldstone report.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Col. Kemp spoke about the future of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and whether a ground operation will be necessary, the international community’s culpability, and why Turkey should be careful about what it says.

“The last thing anyone wants to see is a ground incursion. There will be quite a large number of civilian casualties. It will also cause military casualties on Israel’s side. I don’t think anyone wants to see it. But I’m sorry to say it: there doesn’t seem like much sign of Hamas acceding to Israel’s requirements, which are to stop carrying out rocket attacks and to cease arming themselves with war munitions. Until they can agree to those two things and also having enhanced security on the Egyptian side of the border to stop the munitions smuggling, then I think the likelihood is that there will be a ground offensive.”

“The onus is on Hamas. They started this conflict by lobbing rockets at Israel’s civilian population. Israel’s obligation is to protect its citizens.”

“I’m skeptical of how long a ceasefire can last until Hamas has been dealt a blow far heavier than it’s been dealt thus far.”

Despite efforts to mediate, Col. Kemp does not think the international community has been helpful, in fact, it has hindered attempts at peace between the two sides.  “I’m disturbed that some of the international community thinks there’s some sort of equivalence between a democratic state such as Israel defending itself and a terrorist group attacking it. They almost see them both as being of equal merit, which of course they’re not.”

And he’s even less enthusiastic about those who remain highly critical of Israel:

“There is a very effective anti-Israel propaganda machine and there has been for some time. It’s partly from the Palestinians, partly from other Arab states and many people in the West—from Europe in particular but also the United States—see Hamas as the underdog and Israel as the bully and their natural inclination is to side with the underdog; but it’s to misunderstand the reality: Hamas is not a small group of lone freedom fighters. Hamas is a terrorist organization supported, financed and directed by Iran. Israel on the other hand is not a bully. It has shown amazing restraint—far more restraint than most other countries would show in the face of this sort of provocation.”

“I think some of the governments, diplomats and international NGOs now circling around this issue should shoulder some of the blame for this current conflict. They ignored year after year terrorist missile attacks and they’ve not made any effort to restrain Hamas. So yes, there’s certainly a culpability far wider than just in the immediate region.”

On Israel’s army Col. Kemp say it is, “a very moral army. Their ethos are excellent and they will never seek to cause unnecessary civilian casualties. They’ve taken huge steps to prevent that from happening.”

“Israel has had  some superb intelligence, very very precise operations, very restrained operations so I think any of these civilian tragedies are a tragedy but unfortunately they are unavoidable when you’re dealing with an enemy that uses its own population as human shields.”

“Unless there is a credible agreement I don’t think Israel has any choice but to restrain the entry of munitions into Gaza. It’s vital that they continue the blockade. They’d be irresponsible not to do it.”

He also thinks that many of those countries critical of Israel, particularly Turkey, which has a history of aggressive responses towards those it is at odds with, should be careful of its criticism of Israel. “They never hesitate to launch deadly airstrikes on the p that contain Kurdish extremists,” he says of Turkey. “They’ve been entirely happy to launch strikes in Iraq and other sovereign countries for the same purposes that Israel is attacking Gaza. They are in danger of looking hypocritical.”

6 Comments

  • Perceptive, accurate and telling. Those who do not call Hamas and those who hate and wish to see the demise of Israel to account for acts of aggression and terrorism are validating criminals. For not being honest and jumping on the propaganda wagon many in the west have colluded with the terrorists and instead of bringing reason to the table have given carte blanche to the acts of war perpetrated by Hamas and those of their ilk. The civilians who have been caught in Israel’s justifiable and legal defence have been victims not of Israel but of Hamas and their sponsors and by default those in the west who seek to justify Haman (oops meant Hamas).

  • Col Kemp is talking sense.

  • agree with F Callen…Turkey has no credibility at all, and you didn’t mention their illegal invasion and continued occupation of over 30% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus despite countless UN resolutions asking for their withdrawal.

  • Turkey “in danger of looking hypocritical”? You’re not bad the restraint yourself, Colonel Kemp.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →