July 26, 2014

LOSING THE WAR

Why nobody but the US voted against the UN's anti-Israel resolution (RAPHAEL AHREN, July 24, 2014, Times of Israel)

On Wednesday, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted on a heavily one-sided resolution condemning "in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations" in Gaza. The Geneva-based council, which has a long history of anti-Israel bias, also declared a new "international commission of inquiry" into the events currently unfolding in Israel and Gaza, in what observers are calling a new Goldstone report.

Only the United States voted against the resolution. Twenty-nine nations voted in favor, among them not only the usual suspects such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria and South Africa, but also some ostensible friends of Israel, including Russia, Kenya, India and Mexico.

Equally hurtful for Israel, if not more so, were the abstentions of the eight European Union member states who had the right to vote: Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom. (Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are not EU members but also abstained; non-member states Iceland, Serbia, Albania and Liechtenstein aligned themselves with the EU position.)

Yes, even the Czech Republic, which in November 2012 was the only EU country to oppose granting the Palestinians nonmember state status at the UN, did not vote against a resolution that denounces Israel for "disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks, including aerial bombardment of civilian areas, the targeting of civilians and civilian properties in collective punishment contrary to international law, and other actions, including the targeting of medical and humanitarian personnel, that may amount to international crimes." The resolution does not mention Hamas once.

For Israel, the vote was another heavy slap in the face. 


While Hamas celebrates, Israel focuses on its security (DAVID HOROVITZ, July 26, 2014, Times of Israel)

Hamas managed to get three-quarters of the international airlines that routinely fly in and out of Israel to temporarily stop using Ben-Gurion Airport, thanks to the pusillanimous lead of the authorities in the United States. Israel's security arrangements for flights leaving and entering are rigorous, yet the fact that a single one of those 2,000 rockets found its target near Tel Aviv, constituting no threat to incoming or outgoing flights, was enough to spark a dismal international capitulation to terrorism.

Entirely unsurprisingly, Hamas is managing to further blacken Israel's name wherever this conflict is depicted in terms that are the opposite of reality, which is most everywhere. Israel is under attack by the terrorist government of the state next door, which is openly committed to destroying it, in accordance with a perverted Islamist ideology, in partnership with Iran, Qatar, Hezbollah and the rest of this region's most pernicious governments and terrorist organizations. Year after year, Hamas improves its capacity to do Israel harm, while Israel does its best to minimize that capacity. No attacks on Israel or preparation for attacks on Israel? No suffering in Gaza. It really is as simple as that.

Doubtless, it has often been said, Israel would gain more sympathy internationally if only more Israelis were dying. Well, more Israelis are dying now -- except that since they're the soldiers of the side widely misrepresented as the aggressor, even that works to Hamas's advantage. Gaza's terrorist government does its best to kill Israeli civilians. It's managing to kill Israeli soldiers, drawing them into the residential areas where it's thus also getting Gaza civilians killed. Israel's even treating in its hospitals injured terrorists it captures emerging from the Hamas tunnels. And still, through every twist and turn of this conflict, the international presumption of blame is on Israel. The dangers to Israel are minimalized. The rocket attacks are dismissed as inconsequential (except, as mentioned, when they necessitate the abandonment of Ben-Gurion Airport) and the cross-border attack tunnels often aren't even being reported at all. Through the manipulation of the willingly manipulated, it's all Israel's fault. Wonderful news for the Islamists.


How the West Chose War in Gaza : Gaza and Israel: The Road to War, Paved by the West (NATHAN THRALL, JULY 17, 2014, NY Times)

Despite having won the last elections, in 2006, Hamas decided to transfer formal authority to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. That decision led to a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization, on terms set almost entirely by the P.L.O. chairman and Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal: the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one, and the easing of the suffocating border closures imposed by Israel and Egypt that bar most Gazans' passage to the outside world.

Yet, in many ways, the reconciliation government could have served Israel's interests. It offered Hamas's political adversaries a foothold in Gaza; it was formed without a single Hamas member; it retained the same Ramallah-based prime minister, deputy prime ministers, finance minister and foreign minister; and, most important, it pledged to comply with the three conditions for Western aid long demanded by America and its European allies: nonviolence, adherence to past agreements and recognition of Israel.

Israel strongly opposed American recognition of the new government, however, and sought to isolate it internationally, seeing any small step toward Palestinian unity as a threat. Israel's security establishment objects to the strengthening of West Bank-Gaza ties, lest Hamas raise its head in the West Bank. And Israelis who oppose a two-state solution understand that a unified Palestinian leadership is a prerequisite for any lasting peace.

Still, despite its opposition to the reconciliation agreement, Israel continued to transfer the tax revenues it collects on the Palestinian Authority's behalf, and to work closely with the new government, especially on security cooperation.

But the key issues of paying Gaza's civil servants and opening the border with Egypt were left to fester. The new government's ostensible supporters, especially the United States and Europe, could have pushed Egypt to ease border restrictions, thereby demonstrating to Gazans that Hamas rule had been the cause of their isolation and impoverishment. But they did not.

Instead, after Hamas transferred authority to a government of pro-Western technocrats, life in Gaza became worse.

Only Ariel Sharon could have saved Israel.

Posted by at July 26, 2014 10:40 AM
  
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