It is not every day that Human Rights Watch (HRW) comes out with a report that accurately highlights Hamas war crimes against Israel, but in the case of the Thai worker killed by a Gaza rocket on March 18, 2009, HRW did just that.
The tragic story of Manee Singmueangphon , a Thai migrant worker who was killed when a rocket struck an Israeli greenhouse north of Gaza on Thursday March 18, was barely given any in-depth coverage in the mainstream media. Most news reports simply stated that a Thai migrant worker was killed in a rocket attack, not even giving the victim a name.
Indeed, almost no western leader or human rights organization directed words of condemnation to the Islamic terrorists who fired the rockets that killed Manee, a 33-year old husband and father with children back in Thailand, and sent shock waves among his fellow Thai and Nepalese workers. In an interview with Sderot Media Center, a friend and coworker of Manee indicated that the rocket attack made him question whether working in Israel was worth the money. “Money is not worth this kind of danger,” the Nepalese worker stated in shock.
Over 70 people around the site of the rocket attack sought therapy treatment for shock and trauma, including 20 workers from Sderot.
Those foreign officials who did voice condemnation glazed over very general statements that held no one in Gaza responsible for the rocket attack. Catherine Ashton, the top EU diplomat who happened to be entering Gaza at the time the rocket was fired at Israeli civilians on the other side, responded that she condemned “any kind of violence,” while UN Chief Ban Ki-moon stressed that all acts of violence are “totally unacceptable.”
Indeed, is ‘unacceptable ‘really the most appropriate term to describe the murder of another human being at the hand of radical Islamic terrorists? And is it morally right to allow the Hamas government that controls the area in which the rocket was launched to get away with so not so much as a finger wagging from the global community?
If the Thai national would have been killed in Gaza, in an Israeli defense operation, world reaction would have been far stronger condemning the attack.
Human Rights Watch, however, made it clear in its March 19 report titled Gaza: End Impunity for Indiscriminate Rocket Attacks, that Hamas bared sole responsibility for violating laws of war. “Hamas as the de facto authority in Gaza has the responsibility to stop indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel,” according to Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW.
The HRW report stated that “deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians are serious violations of the laws of war. Such attacks committed willfully, that is, intentionally or recklessly, are war crimes that are subject to criminal prosecution.”
Ansar al-Sunna, the al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group initially took responsibility for the attack, citing that the rocket fire was in response to Israel’s “Judaization” of Islamic holy places in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum also stated that Israel “bears the responsibility for the rocket attacks because it “has launched a war against the Palestinian people and against holy cites and the al-Aqasa mosque.”
Interestingly, the so called more moderate Fatah’s military wing, the Al Aqsa Brigades, also claimed responsibility for the attack.
These statements, however, did not faze Human Rights Watch. Stork called such explanations a “diversion.” “The laws of war never permit indiscriminate attacks regardless of the conduct of the other side,” he stated.
In general, the Western’s world attitude of toleration towards Islamic terrorists and terrorism has become a very worrying phenomenon. The killing of the Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, was received by shocked disapproval from the international community. Many news outlets, including AP, called his death a murder.
The fact that al-Mabhouh was key to moving arms made or funded by Iranian government to Hamas in Gaza, or for his role in the 1989 kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers, did not elicit any signs of outrage in a world where Islamic terrorists are not often brought to justice.
The underlying result of al-Mabhouh’s death is that a dangerous terrorist, abetting the radical Islamic jihadist organization, Hamas, which is responsible for thousands of Israeli civilian deaths and injuries, is no longer a threat to humanity. Britian, Australia, France and other western nations, however, simply slammed Israel, the accused agent behind the assassination for carrying out the attack by using fake foreign passports. Not one word was said about the global need to successfully combat terrorism and bring terrorists to justice.
In order for terrorism to abate, the anger and words of condemnation and action need to be directed at those terrorists who commit these heinous acts. World leaders both in Europe and the West need to look beyond Islamic jihadist rhetoric and take a firm stand against Islamic terrorists whether it be in Israel, Gaza, Iraq, Afganistan, Iran, Somalia and other areas, where women and children remain their constant targets.
It is time that the Western community begins to understand Israel’s position in regard to its security struggles against Islamic jihadist terrorism. A news report in GulfNews.com, a United Arab Emirates publication, by Nasser Najjar on March 24, succinctly summed it best: “Because suicide bombing has become a nearly impossible means of resistance due to the isolation of the Gaza Strip and the more than 600 check points in the territories, launching rockets has become the most suitable military solution for the Palestinian factions.”
As long as the world tolerates those Islamic jihadists who fire rockets against innocent Israeli civilians and accepts their legitimization for it, terrorism will continue to strike innocent civilians everywhere. The killing of Manee Singmueangphon by a Gaza rocket should serve as a constant reminder that people of all nationalities are indiscriminate victims of Iranian-sponsored Islamic terrorism.
Anav Silverman is the International Correspondent for Sderot Media Center: www.SderotMedia.org.il.