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THE ABSURDS OF "LEGITIMATE SELF-DEFENCE"
Jeffrey Goldberg, a former Israeli Defence Forces prison guard and now top staff writer for The Atlantic Monthly Magazine, wrote this week against the Goldstone report accepted by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
In Goldberg's words, the report argues that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. Actually, if we are exact, the document concludes that both Israel and Hamas militants committed war crimes during the 22-day Gaza conflict in December 2008 and January 2009. Yet the 574-page report, which the Council commissioned, is itself largely focused on Israel.
Council voted 25-6 for a resolution that condemns Israel for a number of alleged human rights abuses but made no mention of Hamas. A coalition of Arab, Muslim and leftist-run Latin American countries in the 47-member Council were responsible for more than half of the 25 votes in favour of the resolution. The United States, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine voted against it, and eleven, mostly European and African countries abstained. Britain, France and three other members declined to vote.
Israel said that his response to the attacks of Hamas was a legitimate attempt of self-defense.
How right or wrong is Goldberg's opinion is a matter of personal position, political partiality, knowledge and moral, but in his commentary in the Atlantic, he said some words that seem universally true:
"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 suicide 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."
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