By Joharah Baker
Listening to the rabid statements coming out of Israel’s leaders over this past week has pointed to something border lining on the comical. Israel is paranoid and comes across sometimes as a little bit pathetic.
Of course, in the international arena, Israel’s tirades are taken as ‘defensive’ and the fact that the United States backs Israel at just about every turn stifles any real criticisms of its approach. But objectively speaking, Israel is ridiculous in just how much it attacks, not militarily this time, but through its never ending war of words.
Take for example, the recent Human Rights Council resolution to form a fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people” passed last week. Israel began ranting about how the HRC was hypocritical and biased and had an “automatic majority” against Israel. Obviously predicting what Israel would try to do, the decision also called on Israel “not to obstruct the process of investigation and to cooperate fully with the mission.”
Of course this is exactly what happened. Israel says it would refuse to cooperate with the mission, calling the Council “preposterous.” The United States was the only country that voted against the proposal. But instead of the United States bashing the council and its resolution, why doesn’t it ask why Israel is so hell-bent on not cooperating with its probe? If Israel is so confident that it has done no wrong, it should not be worried about anything. And if the United States claims it is opposed to settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, then why doesn’t it allow the mission to come to Palestine and see for itself? Because, it is no different than the Goldstone Report on Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza in which 1,400 were Palestinians killed. Much like many of the oppressive regimes in the region that are being slapped with sanctions and even military intervention, Israel will fight the world tooth and nail defending its actions but won’t allow anyone in to see for themselves if there is any truth to the “preposterous” claims being made.
The Human Rights’ Council is not the only example, though. Israeli officials were on EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton like a bad rash last week when she dared include the children of Gaza among others in reference to the horrible shooting at a school in Toulouse France, which claimed the lives of three Jewish children.
“Israel is the most moral country in the world and despite the fact that it has to fight terrorists who operate from within civilian populations, the IDF makes every effort possible not to harm that population,” said its foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. Prime Minister Netanyahu also criticized Ashton and asked for an apology.
“What makes me angry is the comparison between the premeditated slaughter of children to the defensive surgical activities of the [Israel Defense Forces] aimed at hitting terrorists who use children as shields,” he said.
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What no one asked was – even if this were completely true – and we Palestinians were these horrible terrorist monsters who tie our children to rocket launchers, isn’t it still tragic what happens to these kids? Who said the life of one child is more valuable than another? Ashton was only speaking about children and young people killed “in all sorts of circumstances”; aren’t Gaza’s children worthy of this sympathy too?
The fact of the matter is that with Israel, “the best offense is a defense” and so it attacks at every possible opportunity. Thankfully, when the fact-finding mission does come to Palestine (on condition that Israel allows it to enter) it will not need Israel’s cooperation. All it needs are eyes, ears and a sense of justice to see just how unjust Israel’s settlement policy really is.
Israel attacks, not out of self-defense most of the time, but as a way of silencing any voices of truth about its nature. What better way to fend off criticism than to constantly cry wolf and play the innocent victim in a sea of murderous terrorists? It has worked for them this long, so why would Israel stop now?
Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at [email protected]