British Prime Minister David Cameron staunchly defended Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge last summer in an interview ahead of the United Kingdom’s May 7 national elections.
Cameron told London’s Jewish Chronicle that it is “important to speak out” about Israel’s right to defend itself in Gaza last summer, arguing that it is necessary to differentiate between the “indiscriminate” attack on Israel by Hamas and the Jewish state’s defensive response.
“What I’ve seen is the attacks that take place on Israel and the indiscriminate nature of them,” Cameron said. “As prime minister, putting yourself in the shoes of the Israeli people, who want peace but have to put up with these indiscriminate attacks—that reinforces to me the importance of standing by Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Cameron added that “obviously we regret the loss of life wherever it takes place, but I do think there’s an important difference—as Prime Minister Netanyahu put it: Israel uses its weapons to defend its people and Hamas uses its people to defend its weapons.”
In a recent poll conducted by the Jewish Chronicle, 69 percent of Jewish voters said they would support the Conservative Party, compared to 22 percent Jewish support for Labour. Only 13 percent of respondents expressed support for Miliband, who is Jewish, while 64 percent backed Cameron.
Last summer, Miliband criticized Cameron for his slow response in condemning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, rebuking the prime minister for his “silence on the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel’s military action.”
Opinion polls in advance of the U.K. elections suggest a neck-and-neck between the Conservative and Labour parties.