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In a predictably one-sided recent opinion piece ironically entitled “Seeking Balance on Mideast,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof took Congress and Israel to task for their “obstructionism” against Palestinian statehood. If only Washington would “adopt a more balanced policy” and Netanyahu would soften his “intransigence,” then the stalled peace process could finally move forward toward Israel’s utopian coexistence with the Jew-hating, genocidal Hamas and Palestinian Authority. In fact,” Kristof, as usual, has it completely backward.
Apparently still under the illusion that the vaunted “Arab Spring” is a flowering of democratic pluralism across the Arab world, Kristof says hopefully that in its wake “the United States has a chance for a new beginning in the region.” As long as we don’t fumble the opportunity, that is, by supporting Israel against Palestinian terrorism like we did during Operation Cast Lead:
When Israel stormed into Gaza in 2008 to halt rocket attacks, more than 1,300 Gazans were killed, along with 13 Israelis, according to B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights group. As Gazan blood flowed, the House, by a vote of 390 to 5, hailed the invasion as “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Such Congressional tomfoolery bewilders our friends and fritters away our international capital. It also encourages the intransigence of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reduces the chance of a peace settlement.
As the Fresno Zionism blogger points out, B’Tselem “is in no way an impartial human rights group, but rather an extremist organization devoted to nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish state,” and their casualty figures are inflated and misleading. An Israeli Defense Force report on the Cast Lead operation identifies 1,166 casualties, 709 of them Hamas terror operatives, 295 uninvolved Palestinians, and 162 men unattributed yet to any organization. About those civilian deaths: “The fighting took place in a complex battlefield,” the report notes,
defined by the Hamas terror organization itself. The Hamas terror organization strategically placed the primary fighting scene at the heart of civilian neighborhoods, as it booby-trapped homes, fired from schools, and used civilians as human shields.
Considering that, the number of civilian casualties was remarkably contained. And that’s because
[t]he IDF took extensive measures in order to prevent harming uninvolved civilians, including the dropping of leaflets, broadcasting warnings in local Palestinian media, and making numerous phone calls to homes. The IDF also utilized a system of warning shots and briefed its commanders on how to take extra precautions in populated areas.
Apparently the most extraordinary measures ever taken by a military force to protect against civilian casualties aren’t enough for Kristof, who implies that the phrase “Israel’s right to defend itself” is a thin euphemism for excessive military aggression against Arab innocents. People like Kristof consider this a lack of “balance.”
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