Monday, October 19, 2009

Even Perfidy is Now Gutless in Albion

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
19 October 09

It appears that these days Albion doesn’t even have the courage to admit to its perfidiousness.

The UN Human Rights Council last week voted overwhelmingly to condemn Israel for war crimes on the back of the Goldstone report. This was hardly a surprise, given that Goldstone – whatever his protestations since – was given a brief by the Israel-bashing UNHRC specifically premised on the advance condemnation of Israel for committing the war crimes the evidence of which his ‘fact-finding mission’ was ostensibly supposed to discover.

As has been detailed in previous posts, his report was a travesty of justice, recycling as fact the unverified propaganda of Hamas and its patsies in the NGO world, ignoring the most heinous crimes of Hamas while giving a spurious air of even-handedness by condemning it just a little, and most disgustingly of all accusing Israel of deliberately trying to harm the civilian population of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Having thus obtained its objective, the demonisation of Israel in Gaza, the UNHRC duly voted to endorse the Goldstone report and send it on to the UN Security Council.

Now look at what the former British commander in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, told the UNHRC about Israel’s actions in Cast Lead:

Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizbullah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents. The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.

Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.

More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas's way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians.

Mr. President, Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets. And I say this again: The IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Thank you, Mr. President.

Now look at how Col Kemp’s own British government behaved in the UNHRC vote on Goldstone. It had not wanted to support Israel, but to abstain. The reason it wouldn’t support it was that it said it took Goldstone’s allegations of war crimes seriously. But it also apparently thought the UN resolution was unfairly biased against Israel. Indeed, even Goldstone himself thought so, complaining that it

‘...includes only allegations against Israel. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas, as we have done in the report’.

After all the trouble he had gone to in order to massage his hideously loaded brief, the UNHRC went and stuck to its terms! Tsk!

So the Brits decided to abstain. But then, as theTimes reported – horror of horrors:

But that position began to unravel yesterday morning when it became apparent that other European members on the council, including Italy and the Netherlands, were planning to vote against. That would have left Britain and France looking exposed and out of step with the rest of Europe.

British officials said that Mr Brown and President Sarkozy of France decided to back Mr Netanyahu if he would move on three concessions that they believed could help to rescue the peace process: a freeze on all settlement activity, an independent Israeli investigation and an immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

Those last-minute efforts, however, were thwarted by Egypt, a co-sponsor of the resolution, which refused two French appeals for a two-hour delay, forcing a vote before any concessions could be wrung from Israel. Britain and France therefore failed either to cast a vote or abstain.

The Goldstone blood libel is part of the UNHRC’s strategy of delegitimising Israel to soften up the world for its eventual destruction. In the teeth of the opinion of one of Britain's most senior military experts in asymmetric warfare that Israel had done

more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare

the British government, whose own record in Afghanistan most certainly does not reach Israel's standards for protecting civilians, not only refused to support Israel against this demonisation of its defence of its own citizens but didn’t even have the bottle to register that it was abstaining in that disgusting vote. It simply ran away.

This shocking episode demonstrates with crystal clarity that in the great civilisational war now in progress, Britain is on the wrong side – as it has been in the Middle East, in fact, for the past nine decades.

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