It’s been a long while since IAS has been updated. We’re all very busy these days and after 6 years have perhaps lost some of the spirit and enthusiasm that originally characterised IAS. The solution to the problem is new blood, and thanks to a new contributor who we’ll call Giblet Grouse IAS will live to last another day.
Thank you to everyone who sent in e-mails asking about our recent absence. Running a blog can be a time consuming and often unrewarding experience but we’re glad to know that some people missed us. Anyway, I introduce to you, Giblet Grouse…
The Grouse on double standards
A trait unique to those who seek to provide a balance to the orgy of hatred disseminating from organizations that purport to champion the rights of the Palestinians, is the constant reference to the fallible nature of the Israeli government. In no other context is it incumbent on a party to remind the opposition of the government in questions imperfect nature. When an American talks of Guantánamo Bay he does not begin with the premise that the American government is capable of erring, the premise is implicitly assumed. So too when a Brittan refers to the British Gulag in Kenya during the 1950’s, or a Frenchman discusses the Algerian War of Independence, in which France killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, there is no need to insert this line.
On Wednesday the 24th of March, 2010 the UN Human Rights Council passed four resolutions. Three of them condemned Israel, condemning Israel unequivocally for its war on Hamas, while making no similar statement on Hamas with respect to its rocket fire on Sderot and other human rights abuses in the Gaza Strip. Indeed the resolution demands that Israel gives up its right to self defense, calling for an, ‘immediate cessation of all Israeli military attacks and operations throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory’, with no equivalent ultimatum on Palestinian terror groups. South Africa as a current member of the Council adopted all four of the resolutions. Since its founding in 2006, thirty two of its thirty nine resolutions have censured Israel. One could point to the makeup of the Council, with members such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to explain its overt bias.
One may question whether the shabby human rights record of many of the countries sitting on the Council, invalidate its resolutions. Some may espouse that the resolutions should be assessed on their own merit, and that criticism of the Council and its make up is a measure used to prevent Israeli introspection. Firstly the fixation on Israel and its lack of condemnation of other violators of Human Rights is prime facie indication of bias against Israel, making it an inadequate arbitrator. Thereby, a close inspection should be made of all its Israel resolutions. That being said each and every condemnation of Israel does not necessitate and equal and opposite condemnation of the Palestinians. However, what the resolution does is remove the context of Israel’s actions allowing the body to judge Israel without taking into account cause and effect. The Council demands that Israel desist with military operations in the West Bank and Gaza, however many of these operations are carried out in order to prevent rocket attacks and suicide bombings. While rockets are fired daily into Southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, Israel is expected to do nothing.
This is not a problem localized to the Human Rights council or the new millennium. If one looks through the annals of history one finds numerous imbalances, Palestinian and Arab transgressions are quickly forgotten, while Israeli violations are repeated like a mantra. The War of Independence is remembered for creating the Palestinian refugees, while the Jewish refugees from Muslim countries are side-lined and neglected. The Jews who were expelled from the territories conquered by Jordan, consistent with its policy of creating a Jew free territory, are likewise forgotten. The Palestinian culture of rejecting the numerous attempts to establish two states for two people, are in a classic case of ‘just world phenomenon’, blamed on Israel. The Phalangist massacre Sabra and Shatilla have become synonymous with the first Lebanon war, while Arafat’s ‘RPG kids’ are forgotten. The fact that Shias later entered the camp and massacred an equivalent if not greater number of civilians is unknown or forgotten. The Muhammed Al Durrah incident, with its numerous inconsistencies, has become a symbol of the intifada and Israeli brutality. Judge Goldstone discounted Hamas’ use of human shields, despite eye-witness testimonies, statements by figures in the Hamas hierarchy and Israeli video footage in a report with little credibility.
Pointing out transgressions of other parties does not justify any of Israels violations of human rights. However Israel has shown itself to be capable of introspection time and time again the Sabra and Shatilla massacres led to the Kahan Commission, the Goldstone report has led to numerous investigations. In a completely irrational move, from a military perspective, Israel has recently tightened its rules of engagement - according to the new guidelines, soldiers are not allowed to open fire, even in the air, toward Palestinians who are stoning them. In addition, soldiers driving in an armored jeep are not allowed to shoot at a Palestinian who is about to throw a Molotov cocktail at them.
Therefore when one refers to the fallibility of Israel, it merely points out the inadequacies of many of those who hold Israel to impossible and unique standards and begs the question as to why the person or body is fixated on Israel. Condemnation is not fixation, but when thirty two of thirty nine resolutions are aimed at Israel, there can be no other term.