Surrounded and supported by such moral luminaries as China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and the United Arab Emirates, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay took action – to defend Hamas.
Concerned that Israel had committed war crimes before and during Operation Protective Edge, Pillay called at an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to establish an international committee of inquiry, the goal being to gather as much incriminatory evidence against Israel as possible.
We would have thought that by now the obvious need not be reiterated. Even South African judge Richard Goldstone, principal author of the infamous UN Goldstone Report, came to understand – albeit belatedly – the reality of warfare in Gaza and retracted statements he made blaming Israel for supposedly targeting civilians during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.
But we will reiterate the obvious for the sake of Pillay and her morally sensitive cronies at the UN. The high rate of civilian casualties sustained by Gazans is not, as Pillay would have the world believe, the result of Israeli “war crimes.” Rather it is because Hamas purposely uses Gaza’s citizens as human shields, places its rocket launchers in the midst of civilian populations, fires at IDF troops from hospitals and denies Gazans access to bomb shelters that are reserved for Hamas’s leaders.
Hamas has a vested interest in generating as many civilian casualties as possible. It knows that at the UN Human Rights Council and in world opinion it is enough to juxtapose the high rate of deaths among Gazans to the relatively low rate of casualties among Israelis and you have made your case.
Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, who commanded British forces in Afghanistan, and is in Israel this week, understands this because he came up against the identical sorts of tactics used by al-Qaida. Now he is trying to get the world to understand as well.
“I don’t know of any method used in this kind of scenario to [further] reduce civilian casualties,” Kemp told The Jerusalem Post’s Op-ed Editor Seth Frantzman on Wednesday.
“When [US President Barack] Obama and [British Prime Minister David] say that there is, they should show how to,” he said.
Kemp said that Western armies look to Israel to learn how to minimize casualties while fighting an enemy that is purposely endangering its civilians.
Pillay and the other members of the Human Rights Council should undertake the following mental exercise: Imagine what would happen if Hamas, in direct contravention of its violent version of Islam, were to abandon the armed struggle against Israel, demilitarize the Gaza Strip and channel its efforts and the many millions of dollars in aid it receives from the international community into bettering the lives of Gazans. The Gaza Strip would slowly, but steadily, begin to flourish. Israel, no longer endangered by Hamas’s implementation of its bellicose theology, would open the border crossings and the sea routes to and from Gaza. Palestinians would enjoy a growing economy on a strip of land with one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. It sounds almost utopian.
Now, the Human Rights Council members should imagine what would happen if Israel were to lay down its arms, cease to defend itself, and allow Hamas-controlled Gaza to arm itself with the help of Iran or some other Islamist group, unimpeded by a blockade of any kind. The result would be dystopian. Israel would be quickly overrun by terrorists who would proceed to carry out genocide. Nor would the UN would do nothing to prevent such genocide.
The Hutu genocide of the Tutsis, which was finally stopped almost exactly 20 years ago on July 18, 1994, serves as an eerie precedent. Faxes sent by Romeo Dallaire, force commander of UNAMIR, the ill-fated UN peacekeeping force for Rwanda, warning of the impending genocide, landed on the desk of Kofi Annan, who at the time headed UN peacekeeping forces. Annan did nothing.
By failing to intervene when it should and by intervening on the wrong side when it finally does take action, the UN undermines its credibility – if any remains. By blaming Israel, one of the most – if not the most – moral military power, while all but ignoring Hamas’s blatant transgressions of international law, the UN encourages Hamas to continue fighting.
If the UN truly wishes to play a constructive role in ending the bloodshed, it should be a part of an international effort to bring about the gradual demilitarization of Gaza.