Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles

Sir Eric Pickles has accused the foreign office of turning a blind eye to Palestinian incitement amid “a pathological desire to appear balanced whatever the cost”.

While saying David Cameron had been clear in his condemnation of incitement in a speech to the Knesset last year, the Conservative friends of Israel chairman said the message had become “lost in translation in the bowels of the Foreign Office, which has an almost pathological desire to appear balanced whatever the cost”.

He wrote on ConservativeHome: “The call for both sides to end incitement equates the acts of a handful of extremists on the very fringes of Israeli society to the state-sanctioned incitement of violence rife within Palestinian society. By doing so, the Foreign Office is turning a blind eye to what is a glaring problem for the Palestinians.”

Speaking at a reception celebrating Stuart Polak’s elevation to the Lords, Pickles recalled the murder of Lee Rigby and said the attacks in Israel wee “just as wrong”.

“I kind of understand where the authorities are. if you’re in the foreign office you e got to say on the one hand and on the other, and call for calm. But there is no comfortable equidistance between those who go out to murder and those who seek to protect their citizens. There is no comfortable equidistance between good and evil. So I’m please the pm is absolutely rock solid the prime minister is rock solid in support for Israel through these very difficult times.”