Baroness Tonge Pilloried at House of Lords Session She Initiated on Israel’s Treatment of Palestinian Children
Baroness Jenny Tonge, a notoriously anti-Israel member of the British House of Lords, was pilloried during a session she herself initiated on the issue of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children.
Tonge opened the discussion by claiming, “Israeli soldiers are still firing directly at unarmed children two to 300 meters away from the Gaza fence, using high velocity bullets aimed at their knees.”
“Unlike ordinary bullets, these cause very severe bone and tissue damage,” she asserted, saying she obtained this information from unnamed British medical volunteers in Gaza.
“Over 200 young people, half of them children below the age of 18, have had limbs amputated in Gaza in the last year,” she added.
Sarcastically, she asked of Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations, “Before he tries to blame Hamas, can he please tell us why the IDF have to use such ammunition on children for crowd control.”
Ahmad replied that his government had “constantly and consistently raised the issue of live ammunition with the Israeli authorities and their use against children” and that he had done so in a meeting with Israel’s justice minister.
Pro-Israel Lords then struck back at Tonge, with Baroness Ruth Deech asking if the minister would “equally disapprove of the way that Hamas uses children.”
“In Gaza recently, children were given a day off school, they were bused to the fence, they were bribed, they were used as human shields, they’ve been used as suicide bombers, and rockets are deliberately placed in kindergartens,” Deech pointed out.
“Does the blame not equally lie, if not more so, with Hamas?” she asked.
Ahmad replied that Hamas’ exploitation of children was “to be condemned” and “cannot continue.”
He added, “Hamas must recognize Israel. Let’s get the right to exist for everyone in the region.”
Lord Ian Livingston also rose to Israel’s defense, saying, “Whilst the Israeli Defense Forces are not perfect, the obsession of focusing on them despite being the most moral and professional army in the Middle East is very strange.”
“At the same time, one has to also focus on the issue of, for example, the Palestinian authorities having more than 30 schools named after terrorists who murdered Israelis,” he continued.
In response, Ahmad sidestepped the issue, simply saying that “Israel has a right to self-defense” and calling for Hamas to “stop firing rockets into Israel.”
“If there is a life lost on the Israeli side or a life lost on the Palestinian side, I think we are equally appalled,” he asserted.