At almost the same moment as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour declared that there were mass human rights violations perpetuated against the Palestinians by Israeli forces, Palestinians were seemingly contradicting her when they declared victory over an Israeli attempt to target the home of a known terrorist. They unintentionally proclaimed Israel's unwillingness to target civilians.
As reported in The Australian, "To limit Palestinian civilian casualties, Israeli officers have in recent months telephoned houses targeted for air attacks to warn residents to get out. Israel says the buildings house caches of rockets, or are used by those who fire the rockets into Israel."
"On Saturday night, the head of a rocket cell in the northern Gaza town of Bait Lahiya, Mohammedweil Baroud, received a warning call. Instead of getting out with his family, however, he summoned neighbors and others who surrounded the building and stood on its roof in the glare of lights. Israel called off the attack. Baroud is head of the Popular Resistance Committees rocket-firing team in the town."
This, reported the Australian, prompted Abu Mujahed, a former Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade fighter who now is a spokesman for the PRC, to declare, "We have won. From now on, we will form human chains around every house that is threatened with demolition."
Put another way, Mujahed was explaining how to keep Israel from launching counterattacks against suspected terrorists: Surround their homes with civilians, because Israel does not willingly attack unarmed, innocent civilians.
Wow, what a revelation!
This comes as a result of Israel's attempt to pursue Palestinian terrorists who were firing at Israel civilians in S'derot, a town Ms. Arbour visited on Tuesday. Adding to the irony, on the heels of her condemnation of Israel, was that she herself was nearly hit by a Qassam rocket which struck just 100 yards or so from her car in S'derot. As a result, she tailored a statement that acknowledges Israel's duty to its citizens, but added a presumptuous gibe "Israel has a responsibility to defend its citizens, but has to do so only by legal means ...It has to do so in line with international law," she said.
Arbour likely added that last comment to save face from her previous reprimand of Israel a day earlier. The truth is, however, there nothing new here. The world deep down already knows that Israel does its best to keep civilian casualties to the most unavoidable minimum. Sadly, facts do not matter where the Arab war against Israel is concerned.
That does not mean that the truth should never be pointed out, or even spotlighted. That is why such efforts as House Resolution 1077, which specifically addresses Hezbollah's use of civilian "human shields" in violation of international humanitarian law and the laws of war, need to be supported and encouraged.
Introduced on September 29 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL), the bill seeks to focus attention, not on Israel's military response to acts of terrorism against civilians, but on the terrorists who commit the acts that prompt those responses. It also futilely calls for international legal scholars and practitioners to review the violations and help prevent these tactics.
Such a bill is needed to draw the attention where it needs to be; not on Israel's military defenses, but on the terrorist who intentionally place innocent lives in the crosshairs. The ruse usually works every time on gullible reporters and myopic 'humanitarians': Show dead women and children in Palestinian areas and world leaders and citizens jump on the excessive force of Israel's military. Show dead women and children at a pizza store or mall in Israel and it is simply those poor downtrodden freedom fighters struggling again.
If there were any honesty and integrity left in the media, they would admit that Abu Mujahed's admission puts the lie to their reporting, If there were any justice and fair play left in the world, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen's bill would pass Congress and spark a spate of efforts to get the international community to recognize the serious breaches of international law employed by the Palestinians, including the use of civilians as human shields.
If only. The fact is, the Middle East debate is less about truth or peace than it is about money, power, dominance and religious zealotry.
Alas, honesty, integrity, justice and fair play apparently have no role to play in Mideast affairs. Even though Human Rights Commissioner Arbour, for example, now knows first hand what it feels like to have a Qassam land within feet of your lap, that did not prevent her from snubbing the families of Israel's captured soldiers-all of whom, guaranteed, are having their human rights grossly violated as a matter of routine, and all of whom expected to see their boys again after the U.N. brokered end to the Hezbollah war in Lebanon required their safe return.
Still, three cheers for the PRC. Its admission should be recalled when next the concerned representatives in United Nations' General Assembly pass another resolution censuring Israel's human rights record.