Saturday, November 04, 2006

Inhuman shields

Inhuman shields. Subhuman shields. Inhumane shields. Dehumanising shields.

The Palestinians today stooped to new lows in their bid to get Israel the worst publicity whilst simultaneously abetting terror. With the assistance of the Hamas government, who put out a public call to duty to local women, a group of terrorists, who had taken refuge in a mosque, escaped after dressing in women's clothes and mingling with a large group of women who responded to Hamas's calls to act as shields.

Israeli troops attempting to apprehend the terrorists killed two of them whilst trying to only target those with arms, even when reports claim the women actually rushed the Israeli position in an attempt to create a diversion and cynically provoke a response. TV cameras were on hand to record this, but by some small miracle, even the BBC is reporting this in an even-handed way that makes the despicable behaviour of Hamas and the terrorists far more to blame than the natural outcome of the response of the IDF.

It is still hard to believe that the world sees any moral equivalence between the two positions, when this type of behaviour (and the reasons for the confrontation - constant and indiscriminate rocketing of Israeli towns) is par for the course on the Palestinian side, whilst Israel is constantly forced to make impossible decisions under the noses of the world's media.

Rather than having to defend itself against the regular slurs (Jenin, al-Durra, and most recently claims of using uranium-tipped weapons in Lebanon) on its national identity, Israel should be able to count on fair, unbiased reporting to bring condemnation of the behaviour of its enemies along with measured criticism of its own actions when appropriate. The Palestinian people need to be liberated from a leadership that foments violence then encourages them to throw themselves into the way of the ensuing reaction.

Allowing a truly free press to report from Gaza and the West Bank unimpeded would be a start. But finding some neutral journalists may prove more challenging.

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