Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Amnesty, at the height of hypocrisy

A few months ago, Amnesty International declared that "Last summer's war criminals must be punished". When you read that article a little more deeply, you see that they feel Israel, Lebanon and the international community haven't done enough to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and other grave violations.
Absurdly enough, in the same document, AI calls for Hezbollah to give more information about the abducted soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Absurd, because AI, who generally fights for the unconditional release of illegally abducted prisoners, does not ask Hezbollah for the release of our soldiers in this document, only for Hezbollah to give information about them. Bunch of hypocrites.

But in any case, the whole concept of addressing any parts of this document to Hezbollah or Lebanon is a moot point. Do they even care what pseudo-do-good-organizations like Amnesty International think?

Israel is capable of judging its own military activities, without the need of an external 'international community' who wouldn't know the first thing about the situation in the Middle East. Lebanon is not capable of that (reminder: Rafik Hariri). Hezbollah doesn't care to be capable of that.
In fact, Israel will do just that, following this absurd AI document.

Winograd Commission to address 'war crimes'
Chairman of commission probing Second Lebanon War tells MK
Gal-On committee will examine Israel's actions in context of
international law, following allegations of war crimes.
Just like in the past, where Israel judged whether Ariel Sharon was a war criminal (he was not), whether there was a massacre in Jenin (there was no massacre in Jenin), whether the Anti-Terrorist fence was illegal (is was not, however parts of its path were revised in order to better accommodate 'Palestinians'), Israel will judge its own military of whether any war crimes were committed.
Does anyone think Hezbollah will do the same?
Does anyone think Lebanon will do the same?

Back to Amnesty's document, the double standards it employs are completely ridiculous.
It laments the 'indiscriminate killing of civilians' and wants to hold those responsible accountable.
Let's compare the Israeli side to the 'other' side.

Hezbollah abducted two and killed three soldiers on our side of a UN recognized border. This was followed by Katyusha rockets fired randomly (and not especially towards military targets) into Israel. All this was an unprovoked attack.
Israel responded by sending helicopters over southern Lebanon.

Here already started the world's echoing call for Israel to stop using this disproportionate force. This would mean that they expected Israel to randomly fire Katyusha rockets back towards Hezbollah.
Who thinks that by doing this Israel would have avoided the world's wrath about 'indiscriminate killing of civilians'?
No one?
Didn't think so.

As the war drew on, we saw a regular pattern of events. Katyushas being fired into northern Israel, at one point getting as far as Hadera. Hezbollah would fire these rockets indiscriminately into Israel, with the hope of creating as many casualties as possible. Hezbollah would listen to Israeli news reports about recent Katyusha landings in order to better orient the next rockets and to create more casualties. It was impossible to know where the next Katyusha would be aimed at. I doubt anyone thinks they were the least worried about their human rights record.

In contrast, Israel preceded every one of the IAF's attacks by distributing thousands of pamphlets asking the civilian population to leave the area. Israel addressed every accidental civilian casualty with deep regret, and reiterated their call for the civilians to leave the areas that were being attacked. Does this sound like a country whose aim is to 'indiscriminately kill the civilian population'?

In some places the Lebanese civilian population was blocked from leaving these places where they knew Israel would attack. Hezbollah had placed launching pads for the Katyusha rockets near civilians' homes, sometimes inside them. Hezbollah counted on the civilian population in order to hide among them. This, for the terrorists was a win-win situation. Either the Israelis would avoid attacking them because of the high civilian population, and thus have the terrorists free to do as they wish, or Israel would attack them and then obviously harm the civilian population meant to 'protect' them, making Israel seem as a vicious killer to the world and ultimately have Israel retreat in order to retain a certain level of conscience. They therefore needed the civilians to stay there as their shield. This is forbidden according to the Geneva Convention (Article 37 outlaws the use of civilian populations as a shield for military actions. It explicitly prohibits "the feigning of civilian, noncombatant status; and the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict."), and in the even that it does happen, it is solely the responsibility of the side who hid among the civilian population. But again, I doubt anyone thinks Hezbollah were the least bit worried about their human rights record.

In contrast, Israeli civilians hid in underground shelters built years ago for their security by the Israel government. Some Israeli civilians from the north left the north in order to find shelter with family living in the center or the south, and were free to do so without having Israeli soldiers block their way, in order to make sure that Israel was correctly portrayed as the victim on CNN when the number of casualties would be compared.

It is absurd that Amnesty International should treat Israel in the way it does, given the obvious respect Israel has for human rights.
It is even more absurd when compared to the way Hezbollah is being treated with silk gloves, given its obvious disregard for anything remotely attached to human rights.


Anonymous said...

Israel has a lot of detractors, but it has a lot of friends, as well. Unfortunately, most of us don't own newspapers or radio stations, or television stations, nor do we work in government. But as we say here in Georgia, don't sweat the small stuff. They can't talk you to death, for all they try to.

Anonymous said...

Did I give you Yael's blog address? She moved to Israel and became an Israeli citizen. Her blog is pretty interesting and funny, and she's a nice person. You might enjoy it. Might make you feel better, seems like where ever you are living you feel a bit isolated.

Freedom Bound said...

Just an observation:

"Israel is capable of judging its own military activities, without the need of an external 'international community' who wouldn't know the first thing about the situation in the Middle East."

Surely Israel must be different in its example of democracy and belief in human rights etc and being transparent and open to criticism of the international community is part of that? I am glad of the critique given by that community of my own nation (UK) because unlike terrorists we do believe in freedom and the need to be accountable in matters of justice etc.

If the International Community doesn't understand then Israel should explain why - as an equal member of that international community. Unlike terrorist groups who care nothing for such community etc.....