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 Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.