Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Excusing Palestinian Terrorists

Joseph Klein

Palestinian terrorism is the inevitable consequence of Israeli occupation, according to the United Nations. This unsurprising bit of pro-Palestinian propaganda came in the form of a report just recently prepared by John Dugard, the so-called independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the UN Human Rights Council. [1]His report, to be formally presented later this month, has already been issued as an official UN document.

Dugard’s report is the latest in a series of verbal fusillades against Israel by this anti-Semitic polemicist, whom Anne Bayefsky of Eye on the UN refers to as "the UN's Spokesperson for Suicide Bombers" and "the most fanatical spokesperson for terrorism at the UN outside the Arab and Moslem world."
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon must immediately and unconditionally ‘denounce and reject’ this shameless justification for suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism against innocent Jewish civilians or risk whatever moral authority he has managed to salvage for the UN since replacing Kofi Annan.
Dugard’s report equates Palestinian suicide bombers and militants launching rocket attacks, who knowingly and indiscriminately kill innocent women and children, with the World War II resistance fighters who targeted members of the Nazis’ Waffen-SS. Ironically, Dugard displays the influence of Nazism on his own anti-Semitic thinking when he uses the term “Judaization” to explain the “historical context” against which Palestinian terrorists’ actions should be judged. He cites what he calls the “Judaization of Jerusalem” as a serious violation of human rights. Dugard says that this Judaization must be undone. The term "Entjudung" (de-Judaization) was used in Nazi anti-Jewish legislation to refer to the confiscation of Jewish property and the removal of Jews from Germany’s social, economic and political life, leading ultimately to the death camps. Until the Palestinians de-Judaize not only Jerusalem but all of Israel, Dugard sees no alternative but a continuation of Palestinian terror. His solution is some sort of bi-national Palestinian state that would extinguish any sense of a Jewish identity in the Jews’ ancient homeland.
Dugard’s report also says that Palestinian terrorism committed “in the course of a war of liberation” against Israel is more understandable than “acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by Al Qaeda”. This reflects today’s mindset at the United Nations. For years the UN has failed to condemn all acts of terrorism as violations of international law because of such a false distinction. The distinction is false because all terrorists portray themselves as fighters against some imagined oppression, which they use to justify their rampant killings. The rationale for deliberately murdering innocent civilians offered by the perpetrators of 9/11 is essentially the same as that offered by the Palestinian terrorists. Al Qaeda leaders have repeatedly referred to the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as examples of ‘occupation’ justifying their terrorist attacks. They also accuse the United States of aiding and abetting Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Excusing Palestinian terrorists means excusing al Qaeda terrorists, plain and simple.
Dugard’s report repeats the canard that there would be no Palestinian terrorism but for the Israeli occupation. It claims that the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination has been denied and obstructed for nearly 60 years by Israel.” Of course, this omits the fact that the Palestinians were offered their own state at the same time that Israel was offered theirs. There was no Israeli occupation of the West Bank or Gaza for the first twenty years of Israel’s existence, as even Dugard admits. The Palestinians failed to create an independent state of their own as early as 1948 when given the chance because of the same obstinate refusal to co-exist peacefully with the Jewish state that we continue to witness today.
Israel would not have found it necessary to take over Gaza (which it no longer occupies) and the West Bank twenty years later if Israeli citizens had not been subjected to invasions and repeated acts of terrorism from the day of its founding.
From 1949 to 1956, for example, Egypt waged a terror war against Israel, launching about 9,000 attacks from cells set up in the refugee camps of the Gaza Strip which was then under Egyptian control. Altogether, between 1949 and 1956, 400 Israelis were killed and 900 wounded by Palestinian fedayeen attacks. In 1964, the PLO was founded in order to "liberate" what they called the "usurped part" of Palestine, which had become the state of Israel. This all preceded the 1967 Six-Day War, after which Israel finally assumed control of the areas that were being used to launch repeated terrorist attacks against its citizens.
Let us not forget that Israel is the only member state of the United Nations that was brought into being by an official act of the United Nations. The UN partition of the British Mandate of Palestine was intended to give the Jews and Palestinians their own national homelands, side by side. The Jews accepted this solution but the Arabs rejected it. Those who have attacked Israel and denied its right to exist as a Jewish state have included the PLO militants, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. They are defying international law in a bid to destroy the state that the UN had created in the first place. They are not the romantic freedom fighters of Dugard’s imagination.
In the last few days, violence has escalated considerably in the Gaza vicinity. During a special emergency session of the Security Council held on March 1 at the request of the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors, Ban Ki-moon gave a report on the current situation. He told the Security Council that some 117 rockets have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel in the last week, including 26 rockets on March 1st alone.[2] These rockets have been fired at several civilian centers, and have extended as far north as the Israeli city of Ashkelon. According to press reports and Israeli government sources, the rockets fired at Ashkelon were of advanced Katyusha-like design, allegedly smuggled into Gaza when the border with Egypt was breached. An Israeli citizen was killed and others wounded.
The Israeli Defense Force has undertaken retaliatory attacks from the air and by land aimed at rocket launching and other Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. There have been significant Palestinian casualties, including Palestinian civilians.
In his statement to the Security Council, Ban Ki-moon explicitly called for an end to the Palestinian rocket attacks, which he said “serve no purpose, endanger Israeli civilians, and bring misery to the Palestinian people”. Thus, he has not gone as far as Dugard in saying that such attacks are understandable acts of resistance fighters. However, neither has he condemned Dugard’s statements which remain official United Nations dogma. In fact, Ban has pointedly accused Israel of “disproportionate and excessive use of force”. In other words, he is saying that while the Palestinian terrorist attacks that target Israeli civilians are bad, the Israelis’ military response to these provocations is far worse. He focuses on the comparative numbers of casualties on both sides rather than the cause, including the fact that Hamas uses the civilians under its control as human shields.
Robert Zelnick, professor of national security studies at Boston University, explained the Israelis’ dilemma best by pointing out that terrorism thrives “where the civilized values of the target society become its weakness. The terrorist blows up a marketplace while the more mature power expresses regret about accidental civilian casualties,” Zelnick said. “The terrorist drags schoolchildren off a bus and murders them in the street while the mature power flies wounded children for treatment at its state-of-the-art medical centers. Israel has learned all this the hard way. It has also learned that a ‘disproportionate’ response to provocation may be its only ticket to survival." [3]
In short, there is no such thing as a disproportionate response to an existential threat.
Israel has offered to give the Palestinians virtually all of the occupied territories for them to create their own state in return for real peace. The Palestinian response has been more deadly terrorist attacks. The Israeli government has no policy advocating the destruction of its neighbors, and certainly no policy to liquidate the Palestinian people. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and their chief state sponsor Iran are sworn to the destruction of Israel as it exists today and the slaughter or mass expulsion of its Jewish inhabitants by any means at their disposal. So long as the United Nations’ leaders fail to grasp this essential difference between Israel’s peaceful intentions and the Palestinians’ desire for a violent end to the Jewish state, the UN will remain on the wrong side of the moral divide.

[1] Human Rights Situation In Palestine And Other Occupied Arab Territories:
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 by John Dugard (January 21, 2008).
[2] Secretary-General's statement to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East (March 1, 2008).
[3] Hit hard, hit harder by Robert Zelnick, Guardian Unlimited (July 14, 2006).

Joseph A. Klein is the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.

No comments: