( This post was largely written last Tuesday evening but I only managed to finish and post it today ) Now look who is talking. If ever you wondered why except for the gullible and the naive few Israelis have any true faith in the impartiality of the UN or in a leading role for the international body in the war against terror, you should read today's statement by the organization's Secretary General, Kofi Annan. More than four days after the first of several Qassam rockets that led to the current escalation seriously wounded a baby and two other civilians in Israel, the UN Secretary General found it necessary to speak out. And how.
Secretary-General urges middle east parties to avoid escalation of violence, following targeted killings, rocket attacks
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: The Secretary-General has noted with concern that in recent days Israel has conducted several targeted killings in the West Bank and Gaza strip. While recognizing Israel’s right to defend its citizens, targeted killings place innocent bystanders at grave risk and amount to executions without trial. The Secretary-General has also noted with concern the repeated rocket attacks against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip. He underlines to all parties the need to respect international humanitarian law, and to refrain from actions that could lead to an escalation of violence. Never mind the faulty grammar ( "While recognizing...., targeted killings place..." ), I am aware that mine is hardly ever impeccable ( on the other hand, I am not the most important diplomat in the world and I do not have any fulltime spokesmen and -women ). Just look at what the man is trying to tell us and the world.
- He noted with concern that Israel has conducted several killings ( of whom? ) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and he also noted with concern the repeated ( that is at least something ) rocket attacks against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip. He just does not get it, does he? If he had been the UN-SG thirty years ago, would he have noted with concern that Israel had conducted several killings all over the world, and oh yes, by the way, also that several Israelis were killed in Munich? He might believe that we are to blame for the conflict in general - he would not be the only one, but the current escalation has certainly not been our doing, and while he and those who work for him can afford to simply pack up and leave when terrorists and tyrants ask them to/threaten or attack them, Israel can and will not.
- In the recent wave of targeted killings - that was triggered directly by Qassam rocket attacks against Israel - no innocent bystanders were hurt, all nine victims were members of this or that 'militant' organization, even the Palestinians admitted that much after each attack. Where is he every time that innocent Israelis are killed and maimed, the intended victims of terrorists? The baby who was hurt in the Qassam attack that sparked Israel's renewed operations against terrorists within the territories is still in hospital. He was not even able yet to be a bystander.
- Of course, bringing someone before a court is the most just and civilized way to do justice. Nevertheless, sometimes a state has an obligation to do more than justice. Especially in the case of terrorists it is often necessary to prevent attacks, and if they operate from areas where they are left alone by the authorities and enjoy freedom and privileges the state whose citizens are threatened and attacked by the terrorists chooses to act by punishing them or by making sure that they won't strike again. Counting on not functioning authorities to judge and jail terrorists is not always an option, the escape of several dangerous terrorists in Jemen proved that once again. I am not always sure that targeted killings are the best way to deal with Palestinian terror. On the other hand, Israel restained itself before and during the Palestinian elections and after the Hamas victory. When internal power struggles within the territories led to the renewal of Qassam launchings towards Israel the authorities had to respond ( and not only because elections are coming up ). I must say that killing nine known and active members of terror organizations - some of whom were leading figures within those organizations - that all are linked to the launchings seems to be a proper response in today's context. Under the PLO the Palestinians prefered to let Israel deal with the terrorists, no matter how much the latter hurt Palestinian interests, under Hamas nobody here has the illusion that the organization will confront rival terrorists, unless those terrorists will become more succesful - and therefore more popular - than their Hamas colleagues.
- "...to refrain from actions that could lead to an escalation of violence." Where does this man get his information? The escalation is already there. To quote the Germans who stayed in Fawlty Towers: "Vee didn't shtart it." Well, at least not this time.