And so it transpires that Israel is using phosphorous bombs – although Leibovich’s ambiguous retort succeeds in neither denying nor affirming, it definitely indulges in a bout of sly finger-pointing:
We don’t discuss what weapons we use. But I can assure you we do not use any weapons that are prohibited by international law. There are other nations that use phosphorous bombs, and we have the right not to comment on this.
Come on, Avital, you can’t just start and stop, leaving us hanging!
Luckily, Electronic Intifada fills us in on the roll of shame, with Britain and the United States being foremost with their utilization of the banned material during the Fallujah campaign.
According to our former leader, Tony Blair, the circumstances in Gaza are akin to “Hell”; the irony that it was on his watch that the same “Hell” was visited upon Iraq is not lost.
Earlier today Foreign Secretary David Miliband expostulated in the House of Commons on the conflict, and while he urged cooperation and endeavoured to be objective, actions – and words – often fell short.
Take the following for example:
Hamas have shown themselves over a number of years ready to be murderous in word and deed. Their motif is “resistance” and their method includes terrorism. Israel is meanwhile a thriving, democratic state with independent judiciary. [Source]
But one consequence of the distinction between a democratic government and a terrorist organisation is that democratic governments are held to significantly higher standards, notably by their own people. That is one reason we supported Resolution 1860 – to uphold the standards on which Israel and the rest of us depend. As a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, Israel’s best defence is to show leadership in finding a political solution to this crisis and to comply with the standards of international humanitarian law. [Ibid]
This raises the question of continuity: while the strikes in Gaza are vastly inhumane and the world is watching and condemning, what happens when the drones stop flying, the guns stop shooting, and the tanks roll home?
Israel is still perceived as a democracy, despite occupying vast tracts of Palestinian land.
Israel does not even have a written constitution.
A few days ago a caller on BBC Radio 4 bemoaned that even when Israeli troops were not in Gaza, rockets continued to fall.
Observers are forgetting the bigger picture: the Palestinian people do not want just Gaza, a narrow strip of land that is vastly over-populated.
They want their homes, villages, and land back.
Until a long-lasting solution to the Palestine issue as a whole is applied – one that satisfies all parties – the rockets will continue to fly, Israel will continue to be viewed as a flame of democracy in the region, and the utilization of illegal warfare will persist unabated.