Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 24 November 2006

There is a solution, after all!

In case you were wondering what to do about all those Qassam rockets terrorizing the innocent Israelis whose precious lives American Friends of MDA enjoin us to save, Evelyn Gordon has the answer. In today’s Jerusalem Post, she writes,

…a military solution not only exists; it is already being successfully employed in the West Bank: a Defensive Shield-type operation followed by a long-term deployment aimed at achieving comprehensive territorial control.

Sderot residents can’t relax yet, though,

Israel must prepare for a military operation …the government must begin preparing the diplomatic case for such an operation. Currently, most of the world views the rocket attacks as a mere annoyance, and one does not launch a major invasion in response to a minor annoyance.

That shouldn’t be too difficult, considering the ‘world’ response to the Beit Hanoun slaughter.

Human Rights Watch has now come out against people protecting each other’s houses from Israeli Air Force attacks. They would be right if someone were actually forcing people to act as human shields, but how can it be a war crime for people to do a courageous thing and for their elected representatives to praise them for it?

Even if the houses were not legitimate military targets, added HRW, it was still a violation of international humanitarian law to call on civilians to protect them.

Of course HRW must always be and appear to be even handed.

At the same time, HRW demanded that Israel explain what its military objective was in seeking to destroy the houses.

And once they have the explanation of the military objective, it will be ok, then.

The cynicism and hypocrisy sometimes reaches shocking proportions. Today’s NYT editorializes, in the wake of the murder of Falangist politician, a member of a party inspired by Franco and directly responsible for Sabra and Shatila, ‘Lebanon’s pro-Western government’ is in danger of collapse. Obviously, the Times reckons that would be a bad thing, although I’m not convinced it goes without saying.

In a Middle East plagued by constant tragedy and defeat, Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution and the ousting of Syrian troops last year was a rare and precious victory. The United States and the international community must now rally to support Prime Minister Fouad Siniora — with cash, security advisers, and anything that might help him and his government survive.

Clearly it won’t do to speculate on the sources of the tragedy and defeat. Nor about why it wasn’t so important for the US and the ‘international community’ to rally in support of the Cedar Revolution in July, when it wasn’t just one politician, but over a thousand regular people who were being murdered.

Damascus must also be told that it will pay a high price — in scorn, isolation and sanctions — if it is found to have ordered Mr. Gemayel’s death, or the deaths or maiming of a half-dozen other anti-Syrian politicians and journalists.

It’s curious that Syria will have to pay a price if accusations of involvement in half a dozen murders turn out not to be entirely baseless, while another of Lebanon’s two neighbours, about whose culpability there has never been any doubt for far far graver crimes, has only rewards to look forward to – a blank check to replace their cluster bombs, carte blanche to shell civilian areas of Gaza, the right to violate the ceasefire and Lebanese airspace at will with impunity, not to mention all the other privileges, and international law get out of jail free cards they have always enjoyed. The Times editorialists haven’t entirely forgotten about July, though.

We would urge Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to go immediately to Beirut, except we’re not sure she would be welcome after President Bush’s failure last summer to restrain Israel’s disastrous air war.

Failure? Or refusal? Sometimes I think I’d like to see the expression on their faces as they write this stuff, but I’m afraid I’d find out they actually take themselves seriously.

For a more informed account of Friedman's work than I could hope to offer, check this link. Also, a fawning encomium, cynically entitled ‘The Great Liberator’ by none other than the disgraced former President of Harvard, Lawrence Summers.

For more on Altman, David Walsh in WSWS.

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