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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.