"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Double Standards II


Dear Madam,

Tom Cooney explains in today's Irish Times that Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist attack.

Given there is ample evidence to suggest that the present escalation was instigated not by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hizbullah, but by the consistent unlawful imprisonment and shelling of civilians by Israel, are the Palestinian and Lebanese people afforded the same rights Mr. Cooney argues Israelis are guaranteed?

Mr. Cooney also writes that "Iran and Syria must shoulder direct responsibility, too." If this is the case, should those that fund the Israeli military also be held responsible for it's breaches of international law?

While Hamas and Hizbullah hold a number of Israeli soldiers hostage in an attempt to force Israel to release those they imprison, Israel's 'disproportionate' response is to hold a whole country hostage. Who is terrorising who?

Yours sincerely,

Tom Cooney writes in today's Irish Times: "First, contrary to the International Court of Justice's stance, the international community accepts that Israel has a right of self-defence under article 51 of the United Nations Charter, even though Hezbollah is not a state.
Second, Israel may hold Lebanon directly responsible for the attack.

Since 9/11, the threat of international terrorism has forced states to recognise that a state that culpably fails to prevent terrorist attacks or facilitates terrorist groups is directly responsible for the attacks. The underlying principle is that states must counter international terrorism."

The implications of this liberal interpretation of International Law, though he refuses to examine them, suggest that the Palestinian and Lebanese people* are well within their rights to resist Israeli state terrorism. They are also reasonably able to hold the Israeli people responsible for not reigning in their military. And just as Syria and Iran are held responsible for Hezbollah's attacks, the UK and the US can be held accountable for Israel's bombing.

The reluctance of many governments to accept an agreed definition of what constitutes 'terrorism' is key to Mr. Cooney’s refusal to consider the 'other side of the coin'. Yet if self defence is the issue, Lebanon and Palestine are surely well within their rights to resist Israeli attack.

But again this comes down to the fundamental basis for mainstream reporting of the conflict:

Israel does not target civilians.
Arab militants primarily target civilians.

Without a rudimentary change in approach, there can be no real improvement in reporting.

* changed from 'militants' for clarity