Instead of blaming Amnesty Int’l, the Israeli government should look at its own actions

Today, Amnesty international issued a report about the Israel Defense Force (IDF)’s actions against Palestinians between 2011 and 2013.

Reuters quotes part of the report as saying:

Israeli forces are using excessive, reckless violence in the occupied West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what might constitute a war crime, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

In a report entitled “Trigger Happy”, the human rights group accused Israel of allowing its soldiers to act with virtual impunity and urged an independent review of the deaths.

The IDF’s reaction: ” Amnesty International wholly ignores the substantial increase in Palestinian violence initiated over the past year, and shows a complete lack of understanding as to operational challenges the IDF faces.”

Meanwhile the Israeli foreign ministry has called the report “racist”.

My two cents:

Amnesty says that “14 of the deaths occurred during protests against Israel.”

Lets close our eyes and imagine for a moment that 14 Israelis were shot dead by the PLO while they were demonstrating. What would we as victims expect to happen? These people were not suicidal terrorists, they were demonstrating. Demonstration is not terrorism. 14 demonstrators were killed. How many responsible soldiers and commanders were sent to jail for these deaths? None.

How about the 16-year-old schoolboy Samir Awad who “was shot three times, including in the back of the head, after staging a protest near the Israeli separation barrier that divides his village from its historical farmlands.” Or,

“15-year-old Waji al-Ramahi shot in the back from a distance of some 200 metres in December 2013 near the Jalazun refugee camp” as reported by Amnesty.

I am very well aware of the Syrian regime killing 100,000 people and the world not caring. Yes I have seen the way the Iranian regime has little to no value for the life of its own citizens. And the yes the world does put Israel under a microscope while others get away with worst things. But none of these are reasons or justifications to ignore the crimes mentioned in the report. The moral decadence which such activity brings hurts innocent lives, and hurts our future.

I do not question or doubt the fact that Israel has many enemies abroad. Such behaviour does not provide us with security. It does not create deterrence. It never has. It never will. It only creates more enemies.

There is incitement in Palestinian schools. No doubt and they create hate. But how about also looking at our own behavior. Will the brother of Samir Awad, the 16 year old Palestinian who was shot in the back of the head need any more incitement than what happened to his own flesh and blood?

I would have to be a traitor to my humanity, to my Jewish education and to the state of Israel not to condemn such acts. I am not.

Iran to send more troops to Syria?

Today I read an interesting analysis by Shimon Shapira, which was published at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

According to the findings of its report, entitled “Iran’s Plans to Take Over Syria“:

In mid-April, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah paid a secret visit to Tehran where he met with the top Iranian officials headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Gen. Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Suleimani prepared an operational plan named after him based upon the establishment of a 150,000-man force for Syria, the majority of whom will come from Iran, Iraq, and a smaller number from Hizbullah and the Gulf states.

I think this is not all bad news for Israel.

Just imagine the scenario: a Chemical weapon goes missing in Syria. Between Al Qaeda and Hezbollah forces in Syria, who would Israel prefer to take the weapon? Although not a good choice (in this region we usually don’t have the luxury of having good choices), Hezbollah is far more balanced and deter-able than Al Qaeda.

Now of course there are those in Israel who don’t like Hezbollah and Iran – with good reason.

Nevertheless, in the short term, what is going on in Syria is good for Israel. How can it not be? Al Qaeda and Hezbollah are killing each other.

But in the medium to long term, instability in Syria will be bad for Israel. Which is why Israel needs to reach a deal with the PLO in order to prepare itself diplomatically for what is to come in Syria.

Israel must learn that its not enough to be prepared militarily for a future conflict. It also needs to be diplomatically prepared too.