Thursday, January 28, 2010

Israel Defense Forces: Skillful in Saving Lives — and if It Must, in Taking Them

A former IDF medic praises the tremendous capabilities on display in Haiti, and wishes they only ever had to be in the business of lifesaving.

Lenny Ben-David
28 January '10

Almost all Israelis and Israel’s supporters burst their buttons with pride when they saw the reports of the Israel Defense Forces’ emergency army units in Haiti rescuing trapped victims and treating hundreds of wounded.

“Legendary,” “the Rolls Royce of emergency medical care,” and “amazing” were some of the glowing terms used by U.S. network correspondents. Their reports described the efficiency, enthusiasm, speed, planning, and compassion of the 220-member Israeli team.

Unfortunately, the afterglow will quickly die. This week marks the three-month deadline given by the UN General Assembly for Israel’s response to the Goldstone report on the Gaza war, which charged Israel (and nominally, Hamas) for serious violations of international and humanitarian law. Israel will attempt to defend itself, but it knows that little justice or sympathy will be found in the UN’s kangaroo court or in the media that will sully Israel’s reputation and tarnish the tributes Israel earned in Haiti.

How is it, then, that Israel, so skillful in saving lives, stands accused by the UN of “war crimes, crimes against humanity, willful killings, and willfully causing great suffering”? Israel’s critics acerbically ask how Israelis can fly halfway around the world to help victims but not help Palestinians in Gaza an hour away. Some sick commentators even suggested Israeli doctors were harvesting organs.

Something just doesn’t compute with the images from Haiti.

(Read full article)

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