The Double Standard, Part I – About Them
Before Israel captured 60 Hamas members last night, including senior government officials, in an investigation into their links to terrorism (like the understatement?), the Bush Administration was criticizing Israel’s military forays into Gaza, including targeted assassination.
Before Israel captured 60 Hamas members last night, including senior government officials, in an investigation into their links to terrorism (like the understatement?), the Bush Administration was criticizing Israel’s military forays into Gaza, including targeted assassination. According to an Israeli government source, “The messages have taken the form of ‘We understand your anger but any attack would only make things worse for you.'” The official said the messages encouraged Israel to “employ the international community” to help free the Israeli soldier abducted by Hamas on June 25 and taken to the southern Gaza Strip.
Ridiculous and dangerous. Hamas is at war with Israel. Fighting the war is messy and ugly, but nothing “makes things worse for you” faster than not fighting. Killing people who seek your destruction is appropriate whether they wear uniforms or not, and arresting the people who do the planning, financing, training, agitating and venerating is as well. No one counts the number of people who will not die because terrorists were disrupted before they could do the deed, but somewhere in the great reckoning, there must be a column for “lives saved by preventive action.” The administration should praise Israel for arresting rather then killing them – the intelligence value is greater. And the Israeli offer of trials and legal representation should shame the Bush administration, which is having some difficulty with the care and feeding of terrorists in our own zoo.
We offer as evidence against enlisting the “international community” French Foreign Minister Phillipe Douste-Blazy. He condemned the arrests, saying, according to The Jerusalem Post, “diplomacy was the only solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and that political figures should not be arrested.”
There is no point asking European leaders, terrified of their own radicalized Muslim minorities, to kowtow to Hamas, begging a favor and by the very fact of diplomatic intercourse, offering recognition and legitimacy to a terrorist organization on behalf of a sovereign state, Israel, that makes no such offer.
Israel IS a sovereign country, charged by its elected leadership with safeguarding the people and fighting the enemy. Israel is not only sovereign, it is democratic and has safeguards in its military and legal system that protect the rights even of terrorist plotters picked off the streets – although, quite correctly, the right of Israeli citizens to live comes first. Israel does a lot of things wrong; it does a lot of things right – we have bones to pick on occasion – but it does those things based on its proven democratic determination of the circumstances and the rules of domestic and international law.
Quite clearly, Secretary Rice is on a mission for U.S.-European comity, seeking European participation in the civilian reconstruction of Iraq and unity on Iran. But the U.S. and most of Europe will never see eye-to-eye on Israel any more than we will on American military involvement in Iraq or on Gitmo. It would be shameful if the administration decides to stand firm on American independence of action while selling out Israel’s priorities to the French.