Targeting Israel, whitewashing Hamas
EDITORIAL: January 12, 2009
On Friday, the U.N. Security Council approved on a 14-0 vote a badly flawed resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Instead of vetoing the measure, as it should have done, the United States abstained, even though the resolution failed to mention Hamas' practice of launching missiles into Israel.
Instead, the measure "condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism" - implicitly equating Hamas attacks targeting Israeli civilians with Israeli strikes against Hamas gunmen operating out of densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explained the abstention by stating that Washington supported the text of the resolution, but objected to the Security Council's refusal to give Egyptian mediators a chance to broker a Gaza cease-fire. The resolution marked a retreat by the Bush administration, which had previously refused by its veto power to allow passage of a cease-fire resolution without ironclad assurances that Hamas would halt its rocket attacks against Israel.
The resolution is just the latest example of how the United Nations depicts Israel rather than Hamas as the villain in Gaza - with or without evidence. U.N. officials in New York blamed Israel for a pair of incidents on Thursday in which humanitarian aid workers came under fire. John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, accused Israeli forces of "firing at and now hitting convoys" providing aid in Gaza. But Mr. Ging acknowledged that he could not be completely certain that Israeli forces were to blame, stating: "There is a conflict going on."
But the differences between Israel and the terror groups it is fighting in Gaza could hardly be more stark.
Israel has continually transmitted messages through leaflets, telephone calls and breaking into local radio transmissions made by Hamas and other terror groups, urging civilians to stay away from locations where weapons are stored and smuggling tunnels have been dug. By issuing these warnings, Israel Defense Force soldiers lose the element of surprise, placing themselves at greater risk in order to save Palestinian civilians.
Hamas and its allies, on the other hand, are perfectly happy to use their fellow Palestinians as cannon fodder.
On Thursday, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad arrived at Shifa Hospital in Gaza with shrapnel in his leg and demanded immediate treatment. "When we fire we run, but [the Israelis] hit back so fast. We run into houses to get away." "Why are you so happy"? a New York Times reporter asked the 21-year-old man. "Look around you" at the suffering families in the hospital, the man replied. "They lost their loved ones as martyrs. They should be happy. I want to be a martyr, too." That statement illustrates the dark mindset motivating the Palestinian terrorists fighting Israel in Gaza. But the Security Council resolution neglected to recognize such distinctions. It is shameful that the Bush administration failed to stand on principle and veto the measure.
While Hamas representatives were in Cairo negotiating a cease-fire agreement, the terrorist group's leader, Khaled Meshaul, declared Saturday in Damascus that peace with Israel was impossible. Mr. Meshaul labeled Israeli military strikes in Gaza a "holocaust" and called for "another intifada in Palestine and on the Arab street." Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, visiting Damascus last week, labeled the cease-fire efforts pushed by Egypt and European nations as "honey injected with poison." Iran, Syria and Hamas are perfectly willing to see Palestinians suffer in order to have the West force Israel to capitulate.