The British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould broke diplomatic constraints Thursday as he cautioned Israeli tv that “support for Israel is starting to erode’ amongst the mainstream international community.
Speaking of the reaction of the British public to reports of Israel’s continued settlement building activity, he said criticism of Israel was not confined to “those people on the fringe who are shouting loudly and calling for boycotts and all the rest of it”, but was fast becoming the majority opinion. “The substance of what’s going wrong is really what’s driving this,” he added.
Speaking of a “growing concern” in the United Kingdom at the perceived lack of progress by Israel towards a peace settlement with Israel, he said: “Israelis might wake up in 10 years times and find out that suddenly the international community has changed, and that patience for continuing the status quo has reduced.”
Describing western attitudes to Israel in light of increasingly critical EU resolutions and media reports of restrictions in Gaza and continuing tensions in the West Bank, he said that “Israel is now seen as the Goliath and it’s the Palestinians who are seen as the David”.
Despite much focus being placed in Israel on the position of British foreign policy regarding the Palestinian Authority and West Bank settlements, Gould claimed the real dip in opinion came from more ordinary quarters, insisting that “the British public may not be expert, but they are not stupid” when it comes to judging perceived facts for themselves.