Last week we have seen two “incidents” where two rogue states attempted to pursue a political end via direct action, or action via a proxy. I’m going to concentrate on the deaths of children because then certain apologists won’t be able to say: “But they could have been terrorists” … or at least won’t have much in the way of credibility if they do.
In the first case, we have what appears to be a Russian-backed independence movement firing off a missile to bring down a commercial airliner (MH17) killing 80 children.
In the second case, we have the Israeli military trying to stomp on Hamas, and as a result of disproportionate military force and an inability to target accurately, have killed over 50 children.
It is interesting to compare the two to see what similarities and differences there are.
In terms of how accidental those deaths were, it’s fairly obvious that the downing of MH17 was an accident given that it appears that the Russian-backed separatists were boasting about shooting down a Ukrainian military transport plane at the time the airliner was downed. It’s also self-evidently not in the interests of Russia or the separatists to shoot down that plane.
In the case of Israel’s thugs (oops! I mean their military of course), it is probable that the children were not deliberately targeted, but you do have to wonder given Israel’s past and present behaviour (according to the Jewish Virtual Library, the total number of Israeli deaths since 1860 is 20,000 and the total number of Palestinian dead is nearly 100,000) whether Israelis regard Palestinians as sub-humans whose deaths don’t really count.
In terms of an individual, anyone who shoots at a legitimate target and misses, and “accidentally” kills a child instead is guilty of manslaughter. I see no reason why nation states, governments, and the military should not be held to the same standard.
If you cannot shoot without risking civilian casualties, then do not shoot.
The most interesting aspect of these two incidents has been the reactions to them. In the case of the deaths caused by the Israeli indiscriminate military action, it seems to be more or less: “Oh no, Not again!” whereas the reaction to the deaths of the aircraft passengers has been quite justified outrage at the actions of the Russian-backed separatists, and the denials from the Russian government.
Where is the condemnation of Israel’s military action? And where is the condemnation of the USA for backing a bunch of thugs?
It is true that Hamas are also a bunch of thugs who continue to target Israel with poorly targeted missiles, but these are in no way comparable to what Israel is doing – recall those earlier figures of 100,000 Palestinian dead and 20,000 Israeli dead. And yes, it is quite possible that Hamas is using human shields to “embarrass” Israel with civilian casualties.
Yet in all the time I’ve been watching this unending conflict I have yet to see Israel embarrassed by any Palestinian dead.
Even ignoring the morality of indiscriminate killing of civilians, it is about time Israel realised that this sort of thing doesn’t work as demonstrated by the fact that it is still happening today. Perhaps they could try something else more radical – like talking to Hamas.
Without any real expectation of something like this happen I would like to see :-
- Israel admonished and sanctioned for indiscriminate killing of civilians.
- USA admonished and sanctioned for it’s military support of a rogue nation state (yes that does mean Israel).
- Russia admonished and sanctioned for thinking us foolish enough to believe it’s denial of involvement in the shooting down of MH17.