A British mandate to recognise Israeli sovereignty

Article published by Jewish News Syndicate, 10 June 2020. 

by Richard Kemp and Hugh Kitson

The British government should be supporting the Trump peace process, rather than punishing Israel for exercising a right that was granted to it under international law 100 years ago.

The legal right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their historic homeland was recognised at the San Remo Conference of 1920 and by virtue of the Mandate for Palestine that resulted from it. This was unanimously endorsed by all 51 nations that were in the League of Nations, which then constituted the entire international community.

International lawyer Cynthia D. Wallace writes: ‘The Mandate system had been set up under Article 22 of the Covenant of the newly formed League of Nations that had arisen out of the Paris peace process to deal with such post-war emerging territories. At San Remo, the Mandate for Palestine was entrusted to Great Britain as a “sacred trust of civilization,” and the language of the Balfour Declaration was enshrined in both the San Remo Resolution and the League Mandate, which stand on their own as valid international legal instruments with the full force of treaty law.’

Wallace is by no means the only international lawyer who recognises that the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national home in their historic homeland was enshrined in international law at San Remo. At the heart of the historic Jewish homeland was the Old City of Jerusalem and the territory today known as ‘the West Bank’.

Territorially the legal right of the Arabs to self-determination was accorded to them by the Mandates for Syria and Lebanon (under Continue reading

Annexation vs sovereignty: Words matter

Article published by Jewish News Syndicate, 9 June 2020. 

by Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky

It is factually incorrect to assert that Israel intends to ‘annex’ territory to which it has legitimate claim and that never has been part of a ‘state of Palestine’.

Words matter. They drive narratives. They influence policy. And they shape people’s perceptions.

The current debate over whether Israel’s proposed actions in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)—in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s ‘peace to prosperity’ plan—amount to ‘annexation’ or the ‘application of sovereignty’ is a prime example.

Much of the international community, NGO world and foreign press, even some in the Jewish community, have been referring to this aspect of the plan as ‘annexation’.

This is partly a function of naiveté and a lack of understanding about what the term ‘annexation’ actually connotes. But there are those who know the distinction—and its implications—very well, and are using it to create a dangerous perception: that Israel has no entitlement to Judea and Samaria, and therefore would be committing some illegal act under international law.

In essence, annexation means one state imposing legal authority over the territory of another state acquired by force or aggression, normally during war.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines ‘annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State of part thereof’ as ‘constituting the grave Crime of Aggression’.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus are prime examples of such cases. Continue reading

National Guard Deployment Is a Delicate Mission

Article published in Newsweek, 1 June 2020. 

by Richard Kemp, Benjamin Anthony and Cade Spivey

Following the brutal killing of George Floyd, demonstrations and peaceful protests have taken place throughout the United States in a legitimate expression of deep grievances and suffering felt by members of black Americans and those who stand in solidarity with their cause.

Separate to those, gangs of violent, thuggish, rioting looters and agitators are now engaged in a rash of dangerous, criminal behavior spreading throughout America.

As a result, the security role of the National Guard, originally confined during the COVID-19 era to ‘support for warehouse and commodity management and distribution,’ ‘conducting logistics missions in support of the state response at warehouse locations’ and ‘advising and assisting, logistics, transportation, traffic control’ is now very likely to become vital, central and extremely complex—deployed as they will be to not only disperse those gangs, but also to protect the business owners and homeowners threatened by these violent mobs.

As veterans of the Israel Defense Forces, the United States Navy and the British Army, respectively, we are well aware of the complexities regarding the implementation of the use of force for the sake of crowd control, across a range of missions; from dispersal to anti-terror measures.

We understand the complexities of a military deploying and operating among and alongside a host nation’s citizenry against threats emanating from non-citizens. While conducting those operations, we found that the greatest asset to hand was a population of willing supporters—people who saw us not as Continue reading


Article published in The Daily Mirror, 1 June 2020. © Richard Kemp

The Royal Army Physical Training Corps motto is mens sana in corpore sano, which means, ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’.

It sums up the two most important attributes of fighting troops — morale and physical fitness.

The job of our soldiers, sailors and airmen is to attack the enemy.

That means danger, uncertainty and physical and mental stress. Some 80 years ago, forced back to Dunkirk, British troops faced one of their greatest trials.

The vital need for physical strength combined with mental determination in just getting to the beaches was described by the CO of 2nd Essex Regiment.

He said: ‘When walking with an officer I noticed blood coming through the dust on his boots. In response to a word of encouragement, his reply was, “I’ll make it all right sir.” He did.’

In Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 67 years later these qualities were no less decisive for the young infantrymen of the Essex Regiment’s successors, 1st Royal Anglians.

They sweated mile after mile across tough terrain and searing heat, carrying 90lbs battle loads while facing danger from every direction.

The challenges of Covid-19 are nothing like war.

But these are also testing times and those whose morale has been sustained by physical fitness will be the ones coping best.

That’s why daily exercise is one of the few reasons to break lockdown.

Military training and discipline are never forgotten and like Prince Charles, who is a veteran of the Royal Navy, many will have been sustained by their experience.

British taxpayers should not be wasting their money on the World Health Organisation

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 19 May 2020. © Richard Kemp

The World Health Organisation is launching an ‘impartial, independent and comprehensive’ investigation into the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. That is like getting the poacher to probe the disappearance of the pheasants. The WHO itself should be under investigation for its own response, which has sacrificed medical objectivity for a Chinese dominated political stance. Hardly surprising when its director general is not a physician but a politician.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has a track record of miscalculation and misjudgement. In 2017 he appointed Robert Mugabe as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador. In a forestaste of his public pronouncements on China’s handling of coronavirus, Tedros praised Mugabe’s health policies when the reality was that he had presided over a backsliding in the country’s healthcare – not to mention his savage and widespread human rights abuses.

The WHO ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December about human-to-human transmission of Covid-19, preferring to parrot China’s denial of that fact for a month. The Canadian head of WHO’s Covid-19 response team showed his apparent contempt for Taiwan by refusing to answer media questions on its relationship with the WHO. Taiwan remains excluded from the WHO despite being one of the most successful countries in the world in containing the virus. But of course the Chinese Communist Party sees Taiwan as an enemy which it has vowed to conquer before the 100th anniversary of Mao’s revolution in 2049.

The WHO continues to repeat Chinese propaganda as though it were the truth. Despite Beijing’s cover-ups, silencing of its own Continue reading

Palestinians, Israel and the Coronavirus

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 6 May 2020. © Richard Kemp

Coronavirus has turned the world upside down. One Through the Looking Glass moment was the UN’s praise for Israel over ‘unprecedented cooperation on efforts aimed at containing the epidemic’. Those of us who follow the Middle East know that any judgement on Israel apart from outright condemnation is unprecedented for the UN.

What is not unprecedented is cooperation between Arabs and Israelis such as we see today. One hundred years ago, a Jewish microbiologist, Dr Israel Kligler, led the fight to eradicate malaria from this land. For centuries, the territory had been ravaged by the mosquito, decimating the people that tried to live there, leaving it barren and sparsely populated. Shortly before Kligler’s war on malaria, British General Edmund Allenby, speaking of his 1917-18 fight against the Ottoman Empire in Palestine, had said: ‘I am campaigning against mosquitoes’. His battle plans against the Turks were shaped above all by the need to overcome the murderous effects of malaria on his own forces.

Like Coronavirus, malaria did not differentiate between Jews and Arabs, and both communities learnt the need to work together against a disease that had for so long caused devastation to both their peoples. Despite violent efforts by Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to prevent his people from cooperating with the hated Jews, Kligler’s endeavours enabled the land to be cultivated, populated and developed, and eventually led to the total elimination of the disease in the area.

Like al-Husseini, some Palestinian Arab leaders today seem to prefer that their own people succumb to disease rather than cooperate with Israel. While Palestinians and Israelis on the ground pull together against Coronavirus, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh says: ‘Some soldiers are trying to Continue reading

The contortions and collusions of ICC’s Bensouda

The ICC should be an important part of the international rule of law, but Bensouda is betraying its honorable legal tradition

Article published in The Jerusalem Post, 4 May 2020. © Richard Kemp

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, has contorted the jurisdiction of the court into a dangerous parody in her desperate efforts to drag Israeli soldiers and political leaders into the dock at The Hague. Now, according to a senior Palestinian leader, she has also been colluding with members of the internationally-proscribed terrorist groups Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to achieve her baleful objective.

The ICC should be an important part of the international rule of law, but Bensouda is betraying the honorable legal tradition established by the court’s predecessor tribunals that brought war criminals to justice at Nuremberg and Tokyo after the Second World War.

The court’s founding Rome Statute allows investigations only within the sovereign territories of state parties to the treaty. But the prosecutor has unlawfully accepted delegated jurisdiction over the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza from what she calls the ‘State of Palestine.’ Palestine is not a state and never has been. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, from which the Palestinian Authority derives its very existence, the PA was not granted any criminal jurisdiction over Israelis whatsoever nor can it transfer such jurisdiction to international institutions like the ICC.

The ICC accuses Israel of committing crimes against international law (all demonstrably fallacious) within what is an area unlawfully treated as sovereign Palestinian territory. Yet the borders of any Continue reading

Coronavirus: Another 9/11 Moment for the West

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 22 April 2020. © Richard Kemp

The coronavirus pandemic is a 9/11 moment. Al Qaida had been at war with the West for years before the destruction of the twin towers. But it took that barbarism to galvanise its largely supine prey into action.

Now we have Covid-19. Unlike 9/11 we have seen no evidence so far that China deliberately unleashed this virus on the world. There is certainly evidence, however, that it resulted from the policies of the Chinese Communist Party and that Beijing’s habitually duplicitous and criminally irresponsible actions allowed it to spread around the globe, leading to tens of thousands of deaths that could have been avoided.

Commentators and politicians today worry that the current situation might trigger a new cold war with China. They fail to understand that, in a similar but much more far-reaching pattern to the jihadist conflict, China has been fighting a cold war against the West for decades, while we have refused to recognise what is going on. The reality, in Beijing’s book, is that the cold war between China and the West, which began with the communist seizure of China in 1949, never ended. Despite the Sino-Soviet split and subsequent US-China rapprochement in the early 1970s, for the Chinese leadership the US was still the implacable enemy.

Like 9/11, Covid-19 must now force the West to wake up and fight back.

China today is by far the greatest threat to Western values, freedom, economy, industry, communications and technology. It threatens our very way of life. China’s objective is to push back against the US and become the dominant world power by 2049, a century after the creation of the People’s Republic. Dictator for life Continue reading

Give NHS Heroes a Medal

A version of this article was published in The Daily Mirror on 31st March 2020. © Richard Kemp

In 2008-2009 I led a campaign in the Mirror that resulted in the creation of the Elizabeth Cross to recognise the sacrifice of members of the armed forces killed in war. We called that campaign Honour the Brave. At the front-line of the war we are fighting now are not soldiers but health workers and we should also honour their unquestionable bravery.

The war against Coronavirus is very different to military combat but there are striking similarities. As in battle, those on the front-line today are willing to sacrifice themselves for others, risking their own health and even their lives. In Britain, two doctors have died of Coronavirus and in Italy the number has soared to 50.

Risks increase when soldiers aren’t issued adequate protective equipment. When we went into Iraq in 2003 there weren’t enough bullet-proof ceramic plates to go round for body armour. In Afghanistan and Iraq troops had to use Snatch Land Rovers, described as ‘mobile coffins’. Yet they fought on. Today, often lacking proper masks, gowns and gloves, our doctors and nurses continue with their fight.

In Northern Ireland there were never enough troops, and they often worked round the clock with little sleep. Today many NHS nurses and paramedics work 13 hour shifts and volunteer for more. Such is the dedication of NHS doctors and surgeons whose normal work is suspended, some have been volunteering for shifts as nurses.

When insufficient troops are available, volunteers come forward from the reserves including many who have retired from service. Like the rush to the colours in both world wars by school pupils and university students, young medical students have been volunteering in large numbers to work as porters. Already 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to fight Coronavirus. What could be more humbling? Continue reading

We should establish a Coronavirus citizens’ volunteer force

An accelerating sense of crisis now engulfs our society. As the impact of Coronavirus deepens and the death toll mounts, the scale of the emergency is unprecedented in peacetime. Yet there is a silver lining to this black cloud. It can be found in the growing ethos of selfless compassion across the country, with millions of citizens feeling a new concern for their neighbours and the vulnerable.

During the Second World War, our nation became renowned for its unity and self-sacrifice, an outlook known as the ‘Blitz spirit’. Today we can see a reawakening of that same community spirit, reflected particularly in local neighbourhood schemes, where people volunteer to check on the elderly, organise essential home deliveries and support imperilled businesses.

That mood of compassion should now be harnessed more systematically for the good of the nation. Yesterday Lord Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, called for the urgent mobilisation of retired coppers in order to relieve the huge current burdens on the police, the NHS and other emergency services. Pointing out that there are at least 100,000 former officers, Lord Stevens rightly said that their experience and enthusiasm is a ‘golden resource’ that ‘we cannot afford to waste’.

While I welcome his admirable suggestion, I would go even further. I believe that, in response to the crisis, we now need a national citizens volunteer force to help maintain the civic infrastructure which is under unique strain. This new organisation would capitalise on the yearning of so-many people to do their bit, as well as giving the public a defiant sense of purpose in these dark times. There is a vast range of tasks that could be carried out by these volunteers, like performing basic duties in the NHS, cleaning and sanitising public buildings, transporting goods, and providing cooked meals and groceries to the housebound. Former teachers could organise childcare for key public workers. Continue reading

Security – Defence – Intelligence – Counter Terrorism