The U.N. Human Rights Council, which includes such countries as Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Nigeria, has endorsed the Goldstone report, which argues that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. This is a disaster not just for Israel, but for the West. Here's a story that indirectly explains why.
Nine years ago, I was in Cairo for an emergency meeting of the Arab League, which had gathered to discuss the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada. Most everyone at the meeting was supportive of the Palestinian right, such as it is, to use suicide bombers to kill Israeli civilians. Even Amr Moussa, who was soon to become the secretary-general of the League, argued to me that suicide bombing represented a legitimate attempt at self-defense. When I saw Moussa in Cairo, I argued with him about this support. It seemed to me that Arab leaders would one day reap the whirlwind for their endorsement of this gruesome terror tactic, and I told him so. But he argued back, saying that the tragic and unique reality of Palestine -- the special "desperation" of the Palestinians -- meant that the tactic of sucide bombing would never spread beyond the borders of this one conflict.. He was wrong, of course, and many more Muslims have since died in attacks committed by suicide bombers than have Jews or Christians.
Tactics deployed to hurt Israel inevitably cause collateral damage. It's a good thing that the United States, and a handful of European countries, have opposed the referral of Israel to a war crimes tribunal, but they aren't doing enough (and, of course, France and Great Britain absented themselves from the vote). They would do more, I think, if they understood that Israel represented a kind of test run for a uniquely nefarious idea. Israel may find itself in the docket soon, but the U.S., and Britain, and other Western democracies that are battling Islamist terror, may soon find themselves in similiar straits. Who could seriously argue that what happened in Gaza was unique? Talibs hide behind civilians in Afghanistan, and often those civilians get killed. It's only a matter of time before David Petraeus, or Bob Gates, find themselves under attack from the same forces that want to punish Israel for trying to defend itself from a state-sponsored terror group seeking its elimination.
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