Monday, March 23, 2009

Crying al-Wolf

Let me dispense with the niceties. The Israelis and Palestinians are at war and currently the status of the war is on pause until the next round. More often than not, the war is fought as an asymmetrical war. Israeli leaders go at great length to suggest the Israelis are not at war with every single Palestinian, but for all intents and purposes, and as long as the ‘legitimate Palestinian’ combatants continue to hide behind civilian lines and clothes, it might as well be. This war is fought on many fronts and continues to make veer off course from time to time, but at heart, it is still a war.

I bring this up, well, because once again, a UN agency is accusing the Israeli Defense Forces of violating the ‘rules of war’. The Jerusalem Post:
IDF soldiers used an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza, a group of UN human rights experts said Monday. The army ordered the boy to walk in front of soldiers being fired on in the Gaza neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa and enter buildings before them, said the UN secretary-general's envoy for protecting children in armed conflict.

Radhika Coomaraswamy said the incident on Jan. 15, after IDF tanks had rolled into the neighborhood, was a violation of Israeli and international law. It was included in a 43-page report published Monday, and was just one of many verified human rights atrocities during the three-week war between Israel and Hamas that ended Jan. 18, she said. Coomaraswamy accused IDF soldiers of shooting Palestinian children, bulldozing a home with a woman and child still inside, and shelling a building they had ordered civilians into a day earlier.

Since 2000 I have read umpteen accounts of alleged Israeli atrocities and I have watched umpteen Pallywood productions. Israel, while not entirely blameless, has not even been guilty of even half the allegations and charges brought against them by the Palestinians. I am not even sure if we are running at a 10% guilt ratio to accusation rate. This is a disinformation war in which the Palestinians show true mastery at. No accusation is too far fetched nor any lie too outlandish to be shouted or hurled against the Israelis.

So now we have a UN human rights specialist, who goes into the Gaza Strip, and interviews all those who appear quite willing and even eager to give testimony against the IDF forces operating within a war zone. Well, here is the G-d’s honest truth. I will refuse to consider any of the testimony from any Palestinian within the Gaza Strip which cannot be verified by independent evidence or Israeli testimony.

It is not that I find it inconceivable that a rogue commander would violate IDF rules of engagement and use an eleven year old Palestinian boy as a human shield. Commanders are merely humans operating within a war zone, and people make mistakes, especially when operating under great stress and with death haunting potentially every wrong turn. Nor do I believe it out of the realm of possibilities that every single Gazan who gave testimony and evidence to the UN Human Rights Specialists was willfully lying. That’s the logical consequence of crying Mohammad al-Dura and other blood libels for at least a generation.

And Hamas, well, there is this:

There also have been allegations that Hamas used human shields, but UN human rights experts have yet to verify those, said Coomaraswamy.

"Violations were reported on a daily basis, too numerous to list," said Coomaraswamy.

Coomaraswamy, who visited Gaza and Israel for five days in February, said her list constituted "just a few examples of the hundreds of incidents that have been documented and verified" by UN officials who were in the territory. She was the only one of the nine UN experts who compiled the report that was allowed into Gaza following the war. The experts covered issues ranging from health and hunger to women's rights and arbitrary executions. The experts also noted reports that Hamas had committed other abuses. They said Hamas had been unwilling to investigate the allegations.

Gee. I wonder why?

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