Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 14, 2006

Mid-East Double Standards

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:33 pm

The Iranian-sponsored group Hezbollah has, as of the time of this report, fired 150 missiles into northern Israel from Lebanon. An estimated 220,000 Israelis are living in bomb shelters. Two Israeli civilians have been killed, and 50 wounded, plus eight Israeli soldiers have been killed and two kidnapped in a cross-border raid (i.e., Hezbollah attacked within Israel’s borders). This is on top of the cross-border raid by Hamas from Gaza earlier, in which six Israeli soldiers were killed and one kidnapped, and the rockets fired earlier from Gaza, from which Israel voluntarily withdrew (and whose Jewish population it expelled) back in August.

So, Israel is responding, by attacking Hamas in Gaza and attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Naturally, the world diplomatic community is outraged — at Israel, for daring to respond to deadly attacks on itself:

Major US allies condemned the ferocity of Israel’s military attack on Lebanon, revealing a clear split with Washington’s moderate call for restraint.

Cries of alarm mounted worldwide after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered armed forces to intensify the offensive in response to rockets hitting towns in northern Israel, killing two and wounding 50.

“I find honestly — as all Europeans do — that the current reactions are totally disproportionate,” [French President Jacques Chirac] said in a live television interview on France’s national Bastille Day.

“In my view, Israel is making a mistake,” said Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “It will only lead to an escalation of the violence.”

In Italy, Prime Minister Romano Prodi said he recognized Israel’s legitimate concerns and condemning the kidnapping of the soldiers.

But “we deplore the escalation in the use of force, the serious damage to Lebanese infrastructure and the civilian casualties of the raids,” the Italian leader added.

The Vatican secretary of state, Angelo Sodano, said: “The Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign country,” adding that he felt for the people “who had already suffered in defence of their independence.”

“On the one hand, Israel has the internationally recognised right to self defence. But at the same time we ask our Israeli friends and partners not to lose sight of the long-term consequences when they exercise this right,” German deputy government spokesman Jens Ploetner said.

Iran, which with Syria is a sponsor of Hezbollah, called on the United Nations to step in. “The international community and the UN must intervene to stop this crime,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said during a visit to Greece.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was quoted by the state news agency Antara as saying: “Indonesia repeats its call for Israel to stop its military action.”

“I consider that all sides implicated in this conflict should immediately stop military action,” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin said.

It seems the world is divided between those countries that claim Israel has no right to self-defense, and those that concede they have it but don’t want them to actually exercise it. So far, only the U.S. and Britain have acknowledged that Israel actually has any business defending itself — and only they and Russia have bothered to note that Hamas and Hezbollah are wrong to be attacking Israel in the first place.

Of those who claim the Israeli response is “disproportionate” — what response would be “proprotionate” to hundreds of missiles launched at civilian targets? How would Germany or Italy respond to a similar attack?

Do they want Israel to appeal to the UN? That wouldn’t work, since the UN Security Council voted 10-1 (with 4 abstentions!) to condem Israel for defending itself!

That’s right: of the 15 countries on the UN security council, only one — the United States — was willing to say that Israel does not have to sit back and allow Hamas and Hezbollah to shoot missiles at their towns and kidnap their soldiers to their hearts’ content.

This is not surprising — this is the same UN that displayed a map showing Israel removed. Naturally, they cannot condemn violent attacks on a country that is not supposed to exist in the first place.

And of course, the press and the diplomats and “world leaders” are referring to the deaths of Hezbollah and Hamas fighters as “civilian deaths.” I suppose technically this is correct since they are not members of any legal military force. But they are shooting missiles, attacking soldiers, and killing random, peaceful citizens of another country — so in what sense, exactly, is it informative to call them “civilians”?

2 Responses to “Mid-East Double Standards”

  1. My kids’ Dad Says:

    Blame and Peace
    After reading plenty of recent global headlines about protests against Israel’s military actions in Lebanon it was a pleasant relief to read Fouad Ajami’s piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. As a Lebanese intellectual and poet of great stature he

  2. Stuart Berman Says:

    Nice post. I have noticed a flood of this one sided reporting – as well as the headlines about protests around the world to condemn Israel.

    Stu

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