The White House has just lowered its standards regarding civilian casualties during warfare. Yahoo News headline, reporter Michael Isikoff (Sept. 30) “White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths amid reports of women and children killed in U.S. air offensive, official says the ‘near certainty’ policy doesn’t apply.
“The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.
“A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.”
On July 17 (and many other times), “The Obama administration criticized Israel on Thursday for failing to do all it can to prevent civilian casualties [my emphasis] in Gaza during cross-border attacks as Israel and Hamas consider a ceasefire agreement. Noting the deaths a day earlier of four boys who were killed on a Gaza beach by an Israeli strike, the State Department said the high civilian death toll in Gaza has been ‘heartbreaking.’” (theglobeandmail.com)
We Israelis will certainly expect the Americans and their allies fighting Islamic State to send SMS messages and mobile calls to warn those in harm’s way, as Israel did in Gaza. And also, to send a “tap” on the roof ahead of time to those people in buildings which are targeted. Or, is Western criticism just hypocritical carping at Israel, denying it the right to defend itself?
There is another newspaper report that caught my eye today: Jerusalem Post headline, reporter Jerry Lewis (Oct. 2) “UK’s Hammond warns Israel to take European, US public opinion into account. “LONDON – The Jewish state cannot carry on unilaterally deciding how best to respond to threats to its security without taking the views of its friends into account, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond recently told Israeli leaders.,, we are also clear that Israel has to conduct itself in a way that carries public opinion in North America and Europe with it.”
The Foreign Minister expects “to make sure that Israel responds to threats to its security in a way that meets the expectations of Western public opinion,” because, he explained, it was vitally important “that we maintain the strong sympathy that there is for Israel and its need for defense in the West.” (jpost.com)
What “strong sympathy” is Hammond referring to? According to world-renowned human rights champion Irwin Cotler (New Anti-Jewishness): “Almost a third of Europeans show significant levels of anti-Semitism. Over half of Europeans view Israel as ‘the greatest threat to world peace.’ Traditional anti-Semitic stereotyping of Jews as a money-hungry, power-seeking minority remains strong. The ‘new anti-Semitism’ using ‘anti-Zionism’ as cover for Jew hatred and featuring Holocaust Denial and anti-Israel conspiracy theories is increasingly prevalent.”
Where do such opinions come from? Are not the media and those in government who constantly blame Israel for Middle Eastern turbulence responsible?
Did the UK take European and American opinion into account, for example in 1982, when it went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, located close to the Argentinean coast but thousands of miles from the UK? No, the UK took all measures necessary to protect its sovereignty over what the Argentineans call the Malvinas Islands.
It’s not likely that the loss of the Falklands would have endangered the welfare of British citizens. But it’s very likely that Israel would lose control of its southern region and face the death of hundreds or thousands of its citizens if it did not act strongly to stop the aggression of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.
President Obama continues to equate Israel’s defensive actions with Hamas terrorism and war crimes. After his meeting on Oct. 1 with Prime Minister Netanyahu, “Obama said new efforts were needed to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ‘We have to find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes, and schoolchildren in their schools … but also that we don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.’”
(The Times of Israel)
Yes, it is tragic that Palestinian children are killed in Gaza, but why doesn’t Obama put the blame on Hamas for its policy of using Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields? Doesn’t he know that if Hamas and its cohorts stopped firing into Israel, Palestinian children wouldn’t be endangered (by Israel)?
Israelis have had enough of the hypocrisy of the US and other Western countries criticizing Israel for defending itself – in the most moral way possible. As you read this, the mis-named UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Commission) is preparing a second mission to denounce Israel as a serial international war crimes perpetrator, a sentence that was decided ahead of time. Adding to the hypocrisy is the fact that Hamas will not be looked at by the new version of the infamous 2009 “Goldstone Report.” Nor has there been an outcry by the Western members of the UNHRC or by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Really, it’s enough to make one sick to one’s stomach!