Two different stories carried in the same issue of the Jerusalem Post shine a spotlight on the contrasts that exist between the world in which Israel lives and the world occupied by everybody else. One of them deals with the allegations of “war crimes” committed against Palestinians in Gaza during Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” last December.
Following more than 6,000 missile attacks against Israeli cities and towns within range of the Gaza border, together with the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier then held hostage for ransom by Hamas, Israeli officials concluded that enough was enough.
Israel launched a 22-day offensive against Hamas in Gaza with two objectives; the first was to recover their kidnapped soldier, Sgt. Gilad Shalit, the second to put a stop to the rocket attacks.
Before moving on, let’s take a second to put things into perspective. Suppose Mexico kidnapped a U.S. soldier and threatened to kill him if Washington didn’t release every Mexican drug dealer now held in U.S. prisons?
And secondarily, suppose members of the Mexican military began randomly shelling cities along Mexico’s border with Arizona. After 6,000 shells had landed, including many that struck American day-care centers and supermarkets, what would America’s response be? (Even with Obama in the White House?)
Let’s make it a bit more realistic. Suppose the rockets kept raining down around Douglas and Bixby, Ariz., even after U.S. troops were sent in to stop the shelling – and the bad guys began hiding in schools and hospitals. What would we do?
We’d probably do what we did in Iraq (when it wasn’t our cities and it wasn’t our soldiers). We’d call in air strikes and send in troops to mop up. What wouldn’t we do? We wouldn’t leave the job half finished, would we? (We didn’t in Iraq.)
The United Nations just completed a report that accused Israeli soldiers of “routinely and intentionally putting children in harm’s way” during that 22-day offensive. Never mind that Hamas operatives hid themselves among the civilian population – something the U.N. report acknowledges, but assigns no blame for. Never mind that Israeli forces were not the ones responsible for the location of the terrorists, nor aware of who lived in which house in a city of millions.(an enemy city in which any Jew would be instantly killed for the “crime” of being a Jew). But the U.N. condemned Israel for committing war crimes that it said in its report were “too numerous to list.” Heavens! Too numerous to list! So in their report, the U.N. chose to list … two.
The report also cited unspecified but “targeted and indiscriminate” attacks on hospitals and clinics, water and sewage treatment facilities, government buildings, utilities and farming and said the offensive “intensified the already catastrophic humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people.” (This would be the people that were still firing rockets into Israeli schools, homes and markets even as Operation Cast Lead was under way.)
“There are strong and credible reports of war crimes and other violations of international norms,” it said, adding that many observers have said war crimes investigations should be undertaken.
At the same time, the U.N. said the IDF’s denials should be ignored on the grounds the IDF cannot be trusted to investigate itself. But accusations against the IDF by Hamas are reliable?
“To the extent that the combat zone was so densely populated by civilians, it meant that, with the types of weaponry relied upon, there was no lawful way to carry out the Israeli military operations,” said Richard Falk, addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Hamas was firing directly into civilian areas, without any military targets, without any combat zone of any kind, but the U.N. Human Rights Council found that Israel’s actions denied the “Palestinian’s right to flee the combat zone.”
“Such a war policy should be treated as a distinct and new crime against humanity,” Falk said.
Unless it is Hamas committing the identical “offense” against Israelis. Then it is not a crime at all.
The second story from the JPost (I promised there were two) goes like this:
A Palestinian who was given a job working in the Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin attacked two Israelis with an ax. One was killed, the other merely wounded. The Israeli that was murdered by the ax-wielding terrorist was a 13-year-old boy. The other intended victim was able to escape with “just” a head wound. He was presumably the more spry, since he was only 7 years old!
Islamic Jihad took credit for the attack. A Hamas spokesman, Ayman Taha, told the Jerusalem Post: “This attack was committed in the framework of the resistance. This is a reaction to the continuing occupation and the continued building of settlements.
“This is a natural reaction,” he said, “especially against the backdrop of Israel attacks. We are a people occupied, and it is our right to defend ourselves and to act in every way and with every means at our disposal in order to defend ourselves.”
Not a war crime. Not a crime against humanity. A “legitimate effort” by the Palestinians to “defend themselves.” By bashing in the heads of two children with an ax.