I marched in one row with world leaders in order to unite against terrorism. Any terrorism must be fought to the end.”
This appears to be a tweet by the Dalai Lama or the pope who may have posted it after attending the Paris march to express solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo horror.
Hold your breath and grab some cotton because this chutzpah by the impudent Israeli premier might give you a nosebleed. Benjamin Netanyahu posted this message on his Twitter account along with a photo — in which he looks like the proverbial oddball — with world leaders walking, linking arms in a show of support for France, which is reeling from the impact of the appropriately condemned horrendous attacks.
Lexicographers would have to change the meaning of hypocrisy if what the Israeli hawk did was something else. Even Netanyahu’s apologists must have blushed when their leader — whose claim to fame is organized mass murder, unexplained and unlimited incarceration of a homeless people, demolition of homes to punish them, land grab and usurpation of properties to accommodate illegal settlers — forced himself in the midst of a mourning nation. Reams have already been written about how Tel Aviv’s terror machinery deliberately targeted unarmed Palestinian civilians during last year’s naked aggression against Gaza.
Amnesty International charged that Israeli forces exhibited “callous indifference” to the devastation wrought on civilian lives and properties in attacks that were “clearly disproportionate” to their military gains. Entire families and scores of children were wiped out in attacks targeting family homes, said the human rights watchdog, classifying the state-sponsored terrorism as “war crimes.”
To quote Philip Luther, director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program: “Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused.”
Amnesty detailed eight cases in which homes “overflowing with family members” in Gaza were attacked, collectively killing 104 civilians, including 62 children. Around 2,190 Palestinians — including 1,486 adults and 513 children — lost their lives during the seven-week affront. At least 18,000 homes were partially or entirely destroyed during the bombing campaign and ground invasion.
Luther further said that failing to allow independent human rights monitors into Gaza “smacks of a deliberately orchestrated attempt to cover up violations or hide from international scrutiny.” He called on the international community to support the involvement of the International Criminal Court.
Those who watched 2014 Gaza horror do not know how to react when the chief proponent of Zionism, under whose watch the pogrom of defenseless and terrorized Palestinians continued for weeks, now wants the world to believe his nation too is a victim of terror. Going by the Netanyahu’s doctrine, one must believe that leaders like Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Kim Jong-il, Pol Pot, Bashar Assad and Saddam Hussein are wronged by history. If blowing up civilian houses with full military might is not terrorism, then these despots are genuine candidates for a posthumous joint Nobel for peace. One wonders how the hawkish leader sleeps at night without having nightmares about terrorized, injured and bleeding Gazan babies crying inconsolably for their dead parents.
A frustrated Netanyahu, rattled by the Palestinian inclusion in the International Criminal Court and Palestine’s increasing recognition in Europe, tried to insert himself into the comity of leaders, but his attempt to look like what he is not turned himself into a laughing stock. How? The French president knew his presence in Paris would not help the cause, that is why, say the press reports, Netanyahu was asked by Francois Hollande not to attend the Paris march. Hollande wanted to keep the rally’s focus on solidarity with the victims rather than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hollande’s National Security Adviser Jacques Audibert was hoping against hope that Netanyahu would “understand the difficulties” and skip the rally.
Upon realizing that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett would be attending the rally, Netanyahu changed his mind and announced his intent to be in Paris.
People’s memory is not too short to forget what Bennett once gloated about: “I’ve killed many Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.”
When the Israelis informed Audibert of Netanyahu’s intentions, the adviser angrily replied that the decision would leave a negative impact on French-Israel ties.
The French rightly feared that Netanyahu would capitalize on his attendance for political purposes, making speeches about French Jews, which Paris believed would hurt the purpose of the rally. The loss of 17 lives 3,265 km away from Israel hurt the prime minister so much that he flew there uninvited, but such seeds of compassion never sprout in his heart when he unabashedly allows the nonstop carnage of a full-fledged nation in his own backyard.
History’s most dreaded monsters must be turning in their graves.
SYED TAUSIEF AUSAF