Israel, Gaza, and Double Standards

(Jewish Chronicle-UK) Col. Richard Kemp - While I know many British Jews serve with the Israeli military, I was nevertheless taken aback to hear the dulcet, north-London tones of a couple of English lads in IDF khaki at a service station south of Ashkelon. After 30 years in the infantry, I am a good judge of soldiers. Like every one of their Israeli brothers-in-arms that I met, these men were absolutely not the bloodthirsty killers so often portrayed in the international media. Many politicians, diplomats and human-rights activists believe there is an equivalence between the military actions of a Western democratic nation seeking to lawfully defend its people and a jihadist terrorist group indiscriminately attacking civilians and using its population as human shields. I recall no such equivalence being drawn between Allied forces attacking under international law, and the rape, plunder and callous violence of Saddam's forces on the rampage in Kuwait. Israel's choice is stark: put up with terrorist missiles aimed at its civilian population, or attack and risk civilian casualties in Gaza. What do other countries do? Turkey, faced with terrorist attacks by Kurdish separatists, has repeatedly and viciously bombed what it believes to be Kurd strongholds in the sovereign territory of Iraq. Many have criticized Israel for the surgical strike that killed Hamas terrorist commander Ahmed Jabari. Few leveled similar criticism against the Americans for eliminating Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Diplomats are horrified that Israel might launch a ground attack against Hamas. Yet dozens of Western nations have taken part in 11 years of high intensity ground and air warfare among the civilian population in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 terror attacks. The scale is different, the principle the same. Were Israeli troops poised to go into Gaza? Everything I have seen shows that Jerusalem meant business. If the cease-fire does not result in Hamas ceasing its attacks on Israel's civilian population and its military, and an end to weapons smuggling, the IDF may have no choice. Col. Richard Kemp is the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan.

2012-11-27 00:00:00

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