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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A surprising defense

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch issued a report that accused Hamas of murdering 32 'Palestinians' in the Gaza Strip - 18 during Operation Cast Lead and 14 from the Operation's conclusion through March 31, 2009. In addition, 'dozens' of people were maimed by being shot in the kneecaps.
"Of particular concern is the widespread practice of maiming people by shooting them in the legs, which Hamas first used in June 2007, when it seized control of the Gaza Strip," the report said.

According to the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the human rights ombudsman organization of the PA, unidentified gunmen in masks shot least 49 people in the legs between December 28, 2008 and January 31, 2009.

In January and February 2009, Human Rights Watch interviewed three men who had been shot in the legs, apparently by Hamas security forces. Two of them were Fatah supporters, including a former member of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Service. The third man had been overheard on the street criticizing Hamas.

Abductions and severe beatings are another major concern. According to the Independent Commission for Human Rights, unidentified perpetrators physically abused 73 Gazan men from December 28, 2008, to January 31, 2009, causing broken legs and arms.

"The attacks by Hamas security forces against other Palestinians during and since the recent major hostilities with Israel marked the worst outbreak of internal violence since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007," Human Rights Watch said in its report.

"Hamas should end its attacks on political opponents and suspected collaborators in the Gaza Strip, which have killed at least 32 Palestinians and maimed several dozen more during and since the recent Israeli military offensive."
The report prompted a defense of Israel from a very surprising source: The Washington Post's Richard Cohen (NOT to be confused with the New York Times' Roger Cohen). While I don't agree with everything he writes in this column, some of it is worth quoting:
No doubt the Human Rights Watch report will be ignored or dismissed in the greater cause of demonizing Israel. This has been the trend of late. No doubt, too, some will excuse Hamas's criminality as the inevitable result of Israeli actions -- the Officer Krupke School of Behavior made famous by the singing gang members of "West Side Story." But as much as some would like to criticize Israel -- and I have done so myself -- they still have a minimal obligation to acknowledge the difference in core values between Israel and its enemies.


It remains unimaginable that Israel would murder its domestic critics or silence dissent with the occasional kneecapping. These are the tactics of thugs.

Read the Hamas charter. It is not some uplifting cry of a downtrodden people seeking its freedom but a repellent anti-Semitic screed. It sees the Jews behind every major world event since the storming of the Bastille: "They were behind the French revolution, the communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions . . . for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests." The Rotary? The Lions? Why not Welcome Wagon?

When Israelis talk of the practical difficulties of pulling out of the West Bank, they mean the likelihood that Hamas will oust Fatah and launch rockets into Israel. They are both concerned and appalled by a Hamas charter that, in part, reads like it could have been written by Hitler. Withdrawal is necessary and right, but it cannot be done naively and without the participation of the United States. It's going to take American peacekeepers. It is that simple. No Israeli can trust Hamas to keep the peace.
I wonder if he still considers the State of Israel to be a 'mistake.'


At 6:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

American peacekeepers are not going to happen. The American people are in no mood for another Middle East occupation after Iraq and the country has its hands full in Afghanistan. And the Europeans are not interested in taking the Palestinians off Israel's hands. Thus, while every one overseas talks about changing the status quo, no one really has come up with a proposal that is better than the status quo. Don't look for it to change anytime soon.


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