I had to laugh out loud today when reading that EU ministers had condemned Israel’s killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin as “unacceptable.” British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said,
[Israel has a right to defend itself] But it is not entitled going for this kind of unlawful killing and we therefore condemn it. It is unacceptable. It is unjustified and it is very unlikely to achieve its objective. A measurable restraint is required and I don’t believe Israel will benefit from the fact that this morning an elderly man in a wheelchair has been the target of assassination.
“Leaders” throughout Germany echoed that sentiment, with some of them apparently afraid that Israel’s killing of a Hamas terrorist might lead to Madrid-style terrorist attacks in Europe.
Yassin, of course, is believed by Israel to have personally approved a number of the worst terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas, including the attack on a discotechque in 2001 that killed 21 people. Despite his being confined to a wheelchair, Yassin has never failed to extol the virtues of Hamas terrorism.
Apparently the European view is that Jews in Israel should follow the same old script — sit around waiting to be murdered by terrorists and other extremists.
Europe condemns Israeli killing of Hamas leader. Middle East Online, March 22, 2004.
The local paper ran James Lileks’ op-ed about Hamas’ announcement it had abandoned the terms of the truce with Israel. Lileks opens his op-ed with this bit,
“Hamas Abandons Truce After Israeli Strike” read the Yahoo headline on the Associated press story. A reasonable reaction. Hamas had just been pushed too far. They send out a holy man to blow up a bus, and Israel has the temerity to kill some architects of the plot. You can understand Hamas’ position: How can you talk to such hotheads? How do you deal with people who think dead Jews count?
The usual suspects were up in arms recently when Israel (appropriately) killed terrorist leader Salah Shehade. The action was roundly criticized because Shehade happened to be staying in Gaza among civilians and the same attack that killed Shehade also killed several children.
Of course under the rules of war, it is Shehade who is responsible for those deaths since he choose to cowardly and illegally conceal himself among a civilian population while being an enemy combatant. But, of course, this is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so the tragic death of civilians killed as a side effect of a legimater military action will always trump the hundreds of civilians that Shehade intentionally targeted (he was responsible, among other things, for a suicide bomb attack on a Sbarro’s).
The odd thing was that the United States also deigned to criticize the attack as “heavy handed”? Huh? Alan Caruba notes,
The U.S. called the action “heavy-handed.” An odd rebuke from a nation that killed more than 600 and wounded thousands of civilians during its pursuit of Noriega in Panama. This from a nation that bombed a neighborhood in Somalia, killing more than a thousand civilians, after it lost fifteen soldiers. When we invaded Afghanistan, the “collateral damage,” i.e., civilians, was simply the cost of war. However, if Israel, in its effort to defend itself, kills the leader of Hamas Al-Qassam Brigade, the whole world joins in the condemnation of the action.
Since he doesn’t seem to read much, maybe somebody should screen Blackhawk Down for Bush.
Dave Winer completely misses Glenn Reynolds’ point about the way the Palestinians fight Israel,
Glenn Reynolds asks a poignant question. “What would things be like for Palestinians now, if Israelis or Americans thought like Arabs? They wouldn’t be like anything at all, of course. There wouldn’t be any Palestinians.” Bada-boom.
Of course it’s just as true that there would be no Palestinians if we thought like Nazi Germans or Klan members in Glenn’s home state of Tennessee.
Which misses the point which was that while there are Klan members in Tennessee (and Michigan and California for that matter), those folks don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of influencing American politics. Similarly, even though Israel is under constant attack by terrorists, there is no serious movement in that country to respond in kind. Israel could simply wipe out entire neighborhoods in retaliation for suicide bombings, but instead it usually goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize civilian casualties.
The Palestinians, meanwhile, allow the moral equivalent of the KKK element to dominate. In fact Reynolds himself has pointed to numerous incidents where Arab media outlets and web sites of terrorist groups like Hamas chose to run anti-Semitic commentary from American racists.
Imagine a place where the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are regularly reprinted in newspapers and television commentators openly repeat the Jewish blood libel myth.
Welcome to the Middle East.
As usual, Steven Denbeste nails what is going on between Israel and Yasser Arafat. The short version: both Israel and the United States want Arafat to conduct a serious crackdown on Hamas and other groups. Arafat has long resisted that, correctly thinking that doing so might put both his life and political position in danger from within. As Denbeste notes, the United States and Israel are currently in the process of not-so subtly telling Arafat that he’s got two choices — crack down on Hamas or make good on his promise to die for the Palestinian cause.
Actually I don’t think the United States wants to see Arafat dead under any circumstance, but Israel has maneuvered Arafat into a corner where they are quickly approaching a point where they will be able to say “we had no choice” and the U.S. will likely look the other way.
Oh yeah, this was going to be about Kofi Annan. The idiot in charge of the United Nations was running around the world the other day blasting Israel for its latest incursion and claiming that violence would not solve the Middle East’s problems.
Earth to Kofi — the entire world, including the Israelis, saw exactly what the United Nations considers to be a “solution” to violence when the blue hats stood by and did nothing during the Rwandan genocide. I think the Israelis are probably not interested in Annan’s idea of a non-violent solution, which apparently boils down to sit back and allow yourselves to be massacred.
Here’s a quote from a column that appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review about Israel and the United States:
What is the extent of that [Israeli] power? According to Israeli radio (Washington Report on Middle-Eastern Affairs, November 2001), Prime Minister Sharon recently reprimanded Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, saying, ‘Every time we do something, you tell me Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America, and Americans know it.’ Last November, while in Chicago, Sharon declared, ‘We have the might and we are right; the Arabs must listen.’
Of course, there is much less here than meets the eye.
For example, most readers might find it surprising — despite the attributions — that this alleged quote does not come from either Israeli radio nor did it originate with the anti-Israeli Washington Report on Middle-Eastern Affairs. Rather, the first appearance of this quote is in a press release from the Islamic Assocation for Palestine. That press release, dated October 3, 2001, was picked up and republished by the WRMEA.
The Islamic Association for Palestine, meanwhile, is a front for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and has a habit of a) voicing its support for the killing of Jews and b) publishing anti-Semitic materials.
It is hardly a disinterested party in the conflict, and as such should not be relied upon to provide an accurate translation and context to such a quote (which, to be frank, just fits the IAP’s anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic agenda a bit too well).