Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of all British forces in Afghanistan, is in Israel this week to lend support to the military campaign in Gaza and to take on take on detractors who claim the Israeli army is perpetrating war crimes there.
“No other army in the world has ever done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone,” Kemp said in an interview with Channel 2 News, adding that when world leaders demand Israel do more, “perhaps Israel should ask what more it can do.”
Having served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Kemp is intimately familiar with exactly the kind of enemy Israel is facing, and the environment in which it is fighting.
“Islamic extremists around the world use very similar tactics,” the retired colonel explained, as he recalled Taliban using young children to attack his troops. “British soldiers have fought exactly this kind of enemy in Afghanistan and in Iraq. British soldiers understand what Israel is doing.”
Kemp went on to accuse some in the mainstream international media of culpability in Hamas’ war crimes.
“The media, in some cases, bear responsibility for the killing that’s taking place, because they are themselves projecting Hamas’ desired propaganda,” he said.
Asked if he felt Israel could achieve total victory, if it could force a Hamas surrender, Kemp sounded doubtful.
“Inevitably, Israel’s inexorable military force driving into Gaza will lead to the surrender of Hamas,” he stated, before going on to note that such an outcome depended on far too many external forces.
Could Israel accept the large number of soldiers that would die in such a war? Could Israel withstand international pressure long enough to achieve total victory? These are questions that many in Israel have long asked, and few believe that “yes” is the answer to either.