Double standards

November 24, 2016 22:56

So, the UN confirms that Israeli forces did not provoke yesterday’s attack that left four people dead and the Jewish state and Lebanon once again on the precipice of war.

Milos Strugar, senior political adviser for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), confirmed the IDF was carrying out routine maintenance work "south of the international borderline," although on "the northern side of the border fence”.

The Israelis had gone so far as to inform UNIFIL that the work would take place to clear woodland blocking soldiers’ line of vision at the Galilee border. UNIFIL passed on that information to the Lebanese army.

Lebanese soldiers later opened fire on the Israeli troops. Tragically battalion commander Dov Harari (above), a 45-year-old store owner from Neyanya, was killed.

His friend Tamir Ganot , said Dov "always liked to help others, whether it was hammering a nail, fixing a closet, putting up a screen. He would always help the less fortunate, kindergartens, elderly women. He only knew how to give”.

UNIFIL deals with “Lebanese provocation” every day apparently. All the while, Hizbollah, under the stewardship of Hassan Nasrallah, sits in wait: stockpiling weapons, planning new targets and every now and then prodding and provoking Israel.

When I was in Tel Aviv in May, all the talk was of the “coming war”, a sense of unease brewing at what would happen in the north later in the summer. Hizbollah was warning that nowhere in Israel would be safe. New missiles, better than those available to the terrorist group in 2006, would be capable of hitting targets across the country. And of course Hamas could take care of firing at the Negev and the south.

Debate on whether Israel should have just finished the job and been done with Hizbollah in 2006 should perhaps be saved for another day.

A more pressing matter is what response there has been from the international community to yesterday’s events? Apparently relatively little.

No front page headlines about a “massacre” conducted by Lebanese soldiers. No calls to boycott Shakira. No rebuke from David Cameron.

No, instead we have a range of strange responses. These include the British Foreign Office using Commander Harari’s murder as a potential “backdrop” for “substantial talks by the Israelis and Palestinians”.

Britain’s deputy ambassador in Cairo handily chips in, Tweeting : “Israel/Lebanon border clashes. Let's hope they r a one-off.”

Thanks. For. That.

Reuters bizarrely, and somewhat offensively, describe the confirmation that the Israelis had not crossed the border as “a diplomatic boost” for the Jewish state.

Of course – what could Israelis have hoped for more than seeing a commander tragically killed? What ludicrous nonsense.

Where is the Guardian’s pronouncement of a “massacre” and an “unprovoked attack” by Lebanon forces? Nowhere to be seen. Instead a sober piece on its website carries no condemnation of the Lebanese and appears to question the veracity of not only the Israeli version events, but also the UN’s.

As does the BBC report, which somehow manages – unless I’m imagining it – to report the facts in such a way as to leave non-partisan readers with the impression that the entire situation is Israel's fault, regardless of the role played by Lebanon or Hizbollah.

Compare these responses to the vile, pustulating fallout after the Gaza flotilla incident in May. Spot the difference?

When it comes to the Middle East there is, and presumably forever will be, one rule for Israel, and another for everyone else.

November 24, 2016 22:56

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