Alla fine gennaio 2009, quando potetti finalmente entrare nella Striscia di Gaza, che per il mese precedente, quello dell’offensiva Piombo Fuso, era stata interdetta alla stampa estera (provvedimento censurabile e controproducente, deciso – mi è stato – dal premier Olmert contro il parere dei vertici militari) realizzai almeno due scoop. Il primo: intervistai una giovane ragazza che per tre settimane aveva implorato i militanti di Hamas di non usare il grattacielo dove abitava con decine di altre famiglie come base per lanciare razzi contro Israele, ricevendo come tutta risposta l’invito ad immolarsi per la causa. Il secondo: scoprii che il missile israeliano che aveva fatto vittime in una delle scuole dell’Unrwa era esploso fuori il recinto, e non dentro come riportato dalle fonti locali.
Poi è arrivato il rapporto Goldsone, che ha messo sullo stesso piano Hamas e Israele. Confesso che, da testimone dei fatti, ne rimasi sconcertato. Come è possibile un simile parallelo? Vero, l’offensiva Piombo Fuso ha causato almeno 1200 vittime palestinesi. Vero , la maggioranza di esse sono civili. Eppure, la condotta di Hamas e di Israele non possono essere giudicate con lo stesso metro: da una parte c’è una organizzazione terroristica che ha usato edifici civili come scudo, dall’altra un esercito che ha condotto una offensiva per porre fini al lancio indiscriminato di razzi contro la popolazione civile!
Torno sull’argomento alla luce dei dati sconvolgenti resi noti ieri da WekiLeaks sulla guerra condotta dagli Usa in Irak. Il giornalista israeliano Dan Margalit ha scritto un interessante articolo, la cui traduzione in inglese allego per chi abbia voglia di riflettere. Attendo, numerosi, i vostri commenti. Grazie.
What Would Goldstone Say?
Israel Hayom (p. 7) by Dan Margalit — Close to 400,000 horrific and nauseating documents about awful incidents of torture in the course of the Iraq war were leaked to WikiLeaks and were published simultaneously by a number of important newspapers around the world. The US Army, and mainly the Iraqi collaborators who worked in its service, abused detainees and suspects. The administration whitewashed that. It swept the facts under the rug. Until the “greatest leak in history” came along and exposed everything.
Where is Richard Goldstone? B’Tselem? The Turkish members of the Mavi Marmara flotilla? They have all gone mute. What will they do to America? Relocate the United Nations headquarters from New York to the democracy of Pakistan? Prosecute Barack Obama in the International Court of Justice at The Hague? Nonsense. The world cares about human rights only when they are violated, marginally, by Israel, and never when evil peaks as dictatorial regimes in general and Muslim regimes in particular deal diabolically with helpless prisoners.
In the course of Operation Cast Lead, Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ilan Malka called in the Air Force. Twenty-one Gazans were killed, some of whom were civilians, and an investigation was launched. Vast is the gulf that separates between that and what the Americans and their collaborators did in Iraq.
No one addresses the enormous difference between the actions—which indeed must not be done—that were perpetrated by the IDF and the horrific acts that were committed by soldiers from democratic countries that are fighting far from their homelands. Indeed, it is blood-chilling. The publication of 390,000 documents affords drawing an ethical distinction between the IDF and the others. It is a fact that does not turn the IDF into an army of angels, but the IDF is a far cry from the descriptions of it that are aired by foreigners and Israeli extremists who seek to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
We ought to bear in mind three facts:
- Every decent army ought to aspire to uphold the rules and regulations of human rights even in times of war. These rules also need to be the litmus test that justifies prosecuting soldiers who needlessly break them. But a state of war is one of general madness, and in the heat of battle one needs to be understanding of soldiers who want either to obtain information quickly or to protect themselves, and not every violation of the rules justifies prosecution.
- The champions of human rights—whose activity is desirable if only so that the truth should come to light—need to know that the rules have to change. Because terrorists fight from the midst of a civilian population, and the perception that a distinction can be drawn between the civilian population and regular troops in the event of attack has become obsolete. Those rules are applicable for a kind of war that no longer exists. They need to be adjusted to the new reality.
- It is true that democracies seek to behave humanely regardless of the question of whether their enemies are brutal, murderous and dictatorial. But in reality there is a natural aspiration to achieve relative balance. When no documents are leaked about the behavior of the radical Islamic terrorists, and the world knows nothing about the most egregious war crimes that are committed on the other side of the divide—the acceptance of torture by the home troops increases. One can demand more from the army of a democracy than one can from murderous terrorists, but one cannot demand everything from one side and nothing from its enemy.
The WikiLeaks publication, which prompted a furious response from Hillary Clinton, is not the end of the story. It will produce two developments: public indifference within democracies as to what its troops do while interrogating enemy terrorists; and a demand to establish new rules of conduct.
It is terrible, but it is the truth. Wake up America.