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American ambassador condemns the wrong double standards

The US ambassador criticized Israel while turning a blind eye to Palestinian violations of law and decency

So according to the American ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, Israel is employing double standards in its settlement policy in Judea and Samaria.

I’m trying to decide if Mr Shapiro is practising for a stand-up comedy gig, because for America to preach to Israel about double standards is about as bizarre as Saudi Arabia being head of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations — oh wait — they are!??

So let’s review some of the double standards that Mr Shapiro is so concerned about.

Whenever Israel demolishes illegal Jewish construction, it is praised by America and the world, but when it demolishes illegal Arab construction, it is quick to condemn it, such as last August when Israel demolished 40 Arab structures built without proper permits.

The American government loves to speak about Israel remaining a democracy and yet has no problem remaining silent while the illegal Palestinian government with its dictatorial leader Mahmoud Abbas, enters his seventh year as an unelected undemocratic leader.

When a UN school was destroyed by Israel during Operation Protect Edge — its defensive war against the Palestinians — the US State Department immediately condemned Israel’s act as “appalling,” adding that the suspicion that militants are operating near the area does not justify it. These statements were made prior to any investigation — so, in other words. they had no facts, but felt compelled to release a statement condemning Israel.

And yet in October last year when America destroyed a Medecins Sans Frontieres facility in Afghanistan killing 22 innocent people, it was unwilling to issue any statement of condemnation for itself. In fact it pleaded for time, saying we can’t jump to conclusions until a full investigation had taken place. Funny, how they didn’t apply the same standards to themselves.

And speaking about Saudi Arabia, the US Administration welcomed its election as head of the UN Human Rights Council. They welcomed one of the greatest human rights abusers the world has ever seen as head of a human rights council — a country that decapitates people and whose legal system is not much different from the Islamic State.

Then when it comes to releasing prisoners, the US government has applied undue pressure on Israel to release Palestinian murderers and terrorists as a “gesture of goodwill,” but when it comes to releasing a terrorist who has murdered an American civilian, they suddenly become concerned as they did in August 2013 when they opposed the release of a terrorist who had murdered a dual American-Israeli citizen. Surely, the release of all terrorists who murder should be opposed, regardless of the identity of their victims. Do American lives matter more?

Mr Shapiro says Israel must “develop stronger and more credible to questions about the rule of law” and yet just a few years ago, America decided to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and imprisoned thousands of people in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp without any trial. And they did it there specifically so that they wouldn’t be subject to American law. How does that fit into the “rule of law” Mr Shapiro?

Then, of course, he questions Israel’s commitment to “prosecute acts of terrorism, regardless of their source.” That sounds remarkably like Mahmoud Abbas’s empty “condemnation” of terror against Israel where he repeatedly “condemns the killing of all civilians” regardless of where they’re from.

The reality is, Mr Shapiro, that Israel prosecutes all criminal activity in Israel against all perpetrators. Unlike the Palestinian regime, Israel does not reward criminals and terrorists with pensions and does not honour them with the dedication of public monuments and squares. This is something that as ambassador to the State of Israel, you should know. Is that not part of your job?

Now, it’s true that American officials have condemned attacks on Israeli civilians, calling them “barbaric.” And it’s true that America says Israel has a right to defend itself. But honestly, do you need to be rewarded for saying something so obvious? What word would you realistically describe attacks on Israeli civilians? And as for defending itself… um… isn’t that the basic ethos of any country? Since when do you need permission for it? Does America seek permission when it invades Iraq — a country thousands of miles away with very little direct threat?

And on the subject of terrorism, America has just signed a deal with Iran — the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world. So, on the one hand, terrorism is condemned, but, on the other hand, its sponsor is rewarded.

So Mr Shapiro, I agree that there are double standards being applied, and I agree there are two standards, and of course I agree that it just isn’t fair — but the place to find these hypocritical practices is not in Jerusalem, but rather in the power halls of Washington.

About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
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