UN Double Standards

Meryl’s post UN on Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza: The fix is in brings to mind an old joke.

Dan Rather, Katie Couric, and an Israeli sergeant were all captured by terrorists in Iraq. The leader of the terrorists told them he would grant them each one last request before they were beheaded.

Dan Rather said, ‘I’m a Texan, so I’d like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili.’ The leader nodded to an underling who returned with chili. Rather ate it all and said, ‘Now I can die content.’

Katie Couric said, ‘I’m a reporter to the end. I want to take my tape recorder, then describe the scene here and what’s about to happen. Maybe someone will hear it and know I was on the job till the end.’

The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Couric dictated some comments, then said, ‘Now I can die happy.’

The leader turned and said, ‘And now, Mr. Israeli tough guy, what is your final wish?’

‘Kick me in the ass,’ said the soldier.’

‘What?’ asked the leader? ‘Will you mock us in your last hour?’

‘No, I’m not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass,’ insisted the Israeli.

So the leader shoved him into the clearing and kicked him in the ass. The soldier was sent sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9 mm pistol from under his flack jacket, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he jumped to his knapsack, pulled out his carbine and sprayed the rest of the terrorists with gunfire. In a flash, all terrorists were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the soldier was untying Rather and Couric, they asked him, ‘Why didn’t you just shoot them in the beginning? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass first?’

‘What?’ replied the Israeli, ‘And have you two assholes report that I was the aggressor?!’

That’s the sort of humor that creates a wry grin because there is a perverse truth to it. If you picked up the paper and read that a senior IDF official sneezed on a Palestinian and was being investigated for war crimes you’d shake your head, but some of you would believe it to be a true story.

Some of you would believe it to be true because you have been conditioned to believe that most Israeli actions are based upon malicious intent. But before some of you accuse this post of being the standard polemic I want to draw your attention elsewhere.

The Guardian has some terribly shocking video and an article that has received far too little media coverage.

Video of girl’s flogging as Taliban hand out justice

A video showing a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of Taliban influence spreading deeper into the country.

The two-minute video, shot using a mobile phone, shows a burka-clad woman face down on the ground. Two men hold her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whips her repeatedly.

“Please stop it,” she begs, alternately whimpering or screaming in pain with each blow to the backside. “Either kill me or stop it now.”

A crowd of men stands by, watching silently. Off camera a voice issues instructions. “Hold her legs tightly,” he says as she squirms and yelps.

After 34 lashes the punishment stops and the wailing woman is led into a stone building, trailed by a Kalashnikov-carrying militant.

Where is the outrage. Where are the hundreds of newspaper stories decrying this action. Where are the editorials demanding justice. How can such a thing take place and receive so little news coverage.
The silence is deafening.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Israel & Gaza

The War in Gaza hasn’t really ended it has just moved into a different venue. Now we get to see it taken apart within the blogosphere and the MSM. Not to mention the report filed by the UN.

If you know nothing about the war and rely solely upon these stories and reports you receive a very skewed perspective that lacks context and context is everything. These articles do a very fine job of painting a picture of a Big Bad Israel that is intent on murder, mayhem and mischief.

The lack of context creates a very fine narrative for the sort of screenplay that movie watchers love. You have a noble underdog fighting to free themselves from the yoke of some oppressive tyrant. Pardon me for a moment, I think that I am getting a bit choked up about it.

What they neglect to mention is that the noble underdog helped to create the problem by indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel. Nor do they spend time discussing the actions of the peaceful government of Gaza. You know, the fine fellows of Hamas who like to engage in vigorous interaction with those they disagree with.

Take a look at the video and tell me what you think about people who settle their disagreements in such a peaceful manner.

You’ll forgive me for being a bit skeptical about the peaceful intentions of people who treat their fellows in such a fine fashion. But is that video really any worse than watching them use children as human shields.

It really comes as no surprise that certain groups are pushing to try Israel for war crimes or that much of this drama is taking place in the court of public opinion. In an earlier post I pointed out some of the flaws in the UN report and also gave some attention to some of the problems created by shoddy journalism.

But it is always worth noting that journalists are not fail proof and that they do make mistakes. So while the Guardian, HaAretz and others eagerly strive for a hard hitting piece let’s take a moment to consider some of these issues.

Yourish provides one example to review in Is Ha’aretz is pulling a Scott Thomas on us? and Yaacov Lozowick shares another in UK Journalists are Fools and we’ll hit the trifecta with Solomonia’s Who Makes Your News: An Outburst on Tape.

So before some of the fans of The Shack go apoplectic let’s cover a few basic points and then we’ll wrap it up.

The decision to go to war did not take place in a vacuum. No nation will ignore daily rocket attacks. It doesn’t matter how many people are killed by said rockets. There is no relevancy between the decision to defend people and how many are killed or injured by the rockets that precipitated the response.

I have never heard of a war in which civilians were not killed. It is a terrible tragedy and we can say that the victims died a senseless death. But we have to remember that it is war and that Hamas took an active role in trying to create a situation which would result in an invasion.

The problem was that they had their asses handed to them. So when they were unable to capitalize upon the war as a great military victory they switched to Plan B in which they try to delegitimize Israel’s right to defend itself.

Circling back to the topic of context I would anticipate that there are those of you who provide accusations of that being a PR trick. But the reality is that context is not a PR trick. It is the substance that is required to make an informed and honest decision. It is just too bad that so many articles seem to be lacking it.

Crossposted on Yourish.

UN’s "Unbiased Observer" Alleges Israeli War Crimes

Ynet reports that the a United Nations Human Rights Investigator alleges that Israel committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.

Color me skeptical but the UN is not exactly a bastion of human rights. In fact if you look at who sits on the human rights committee and their supporters you’ll see examples of countries that are human rights violators.

Color me skeptical but the man appears to have taken Palestinian press releases and just regurgitated them on UN letterhead. It is common knowledge that the terrorists do not wear uniforms and intentionally operate from within densely packed civilian areas, but that doesn’t matter to Mr. Falk.

Before we go any further let’s look at an excerpt from the story.

A United Nations human rights investigator said on Thursday that Israel’s military assault on densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a grave war crime.

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law,” Falk said.

“On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion,” he wrote in an annual 26-page report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

Falk gave the same death toll from Israel’s offensive in December and January – 1,434 Palestinians, including 960 civilians – as the Palestinian human rights center.

Israel, which lost 13 people during the war, disputes the figures and has accused Hamas fighters in Gaza of using civilians as human shields during the conflict – an allegation which Falk said should be investigated.

Is Falk blind or unable to use the internet. There is raw footage that shows evidence of Hamas war crimes such as the video of them using children as human shields.

Maybe the issue is that he receives his information from biased members of the media such as
Nidal Rafa.

You know who Nidal Rafa is, don’t you. She is the journalist who was employed by CNN. Tom Gross provides a short report that sheds some very interesting information about her partisan approach. It includes a YouTube video in which she verbally attacks a member of the Knesset.

I know, journalists would never be biased. They serve the public by providing an unbiased report of the news. If only that was the case.

To be clear I do not believe that all journalists are bad. I do not believe that journalists who portray Israel or other countries in a negative light are automatically bad. But there are lines and Rafa crosses them far too often.

And when you take a situation where the foreign press must rely upon interpreters I grow very concerned at what is being translated and what is not.

So it really warms the cockles of my heart when I see a fine man like Falk deliver such an important and well thought out report.

Ok trolls, go to town.

Hilary Whatever Are You Doing

CNN is running an article in which Sec. of State Hilary Clinton makes all sorts of wacky remarks. Just for fun let’s grab a few selections:

JERUSALEM (CNN) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday ruled out working with any Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas if Hamas does not agree to recognize Israel.

In the absence of Hamas agreeing to the principles that have been adopted by such a broad range of international actors, I don’t see that we or they — or anyone — could deal with Hamas,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN.”

Hmm…do we have any reason to believe that Hamas is suddenly going to alter their position. Color me a skeptic but I find that difficult to believe. Israel did a fine job of beating the snot out of them during Operation Cast Lead but that hasn’t stopped them from posturing and continuing their attacks.

“The interview was conducted a short time after Clinton met with Israeli Prime-Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who does not support an independent Palestinian state, the bedrock of U.S. policy.

Asked whether the United States could effectively work with Netanyahu anyway, Clinton said, “The two-state solution is the inevitable, inescapable outcome of any effort. It is hard to imagine what other positive outcome could be arrived at.”

“Diplospeak.” You have got to love it. Reminds me of Blazing Saddles and “authentic frontier gibberish” which is a good description of Hilary’s comment.

At one point in time I thought that a two state solution made a lot of sense.

I didn’t believe that there was any historical reason for it. It is not like there ever was a Palestine ruled by Arab Palestinians that was magically erased and required restoration to right some sortg of historic wrong. However it seemed to me like a practical solution to a dilemma.

However over time I have become less and less convinced that a two state solution is sensible. In fact at this point in time I fail to believe that the Palestinians will settle for two states, especially the fundamentalists that run their government in Gaza. Remember, those silly old fools whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

So allow me to quote Diana Ross and The Supremes “You can’t hurry love.” I don’t think that we’re in a position to bring about a two state solution, not now. And trying to force the issue as President Clinton did at Camp David is not wise. There are many things in life that require time and preparation.

And I happen to believe that the peace process is one of them. I’d like to see a different approach taken in which we stop pushing so hard to come to a long term agreement. Instead I’d like to see an approach in which small steps are taken to bring about a more peaceful situation. Given some time in which no wars are fought and terrorist rocket attacks are not a daily occurence will go a long way.

It will help establish a foundation of trust that really doesn’t exist right now and without that foundation there is simply no way that the situation will ever improve.

Olmert Reacts to Rockets

It makes me ever so happy to know that the U.S. is going to send $900 million in aid to terrorists who continue to fire rockets at Israel. Prime Minister Olmert made it clear that Israel will not allow the attacks to continue and that it will not hesitate to respond.

Funny thing about this CNN report is that it is another example of how the terrorists manipulate the media. Hamas does not wear uniforms. They intentionally dress in civilian garb and operate in highly populated areas.

While it is certain that civilians were killed during the war, it is also certain that a large portion of the 1,300 reported killed in the report were not actually civilians.

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel will retaliate against Palestinian-controlled Gaza with a “painful, sharp, strong and uncompromising response” if rocket attacks do not stop, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday.

He warned “terrorists” that they would not be able to anticipate Israel’s moves.

“The Israeli response will — in no way — be what the terrorist organizations expect. The state of Israel has a wide range of options that will be utilized in order to bring complete quiet to the south,” he said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Rocket fire from Gaza, which is run by the militant Hamas movement, was the main reason cited for Israel’s three-week assault on the territory in December and January. The air and land campaign left about 1,300 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis died.

But rocket attacks into Israel continue.

Over the weekend Palestinians fired nine rockets into southern Israel. One of them slammed into an empty school in the city of Ashkelon, causing extensive damage. Since the end of the military operation in Gaza, over 110 rockets have been fired into Israel, a spokeswoman for Israel’s military said.”