My column in Human Events today:
After enduring hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel has struck back, and some of the international reactions have been surprising. The usual suspects lined up with condemnations of Israel, with Egypt, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood among the first in line.
The Egyptian government declared that it condemned “the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip” and blamed “Israel, as an occupying force, for the victims and the wounded.” Of course, when Israel stopped “occupying” Gaza in September 2005, a new era of peace was supposed to dawn. But those dreams died in a hail of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians. The Egyptian statement continued: “Egypt will continue its contacts to prepare an atmosphere conducive to restoring the period of calm and achieving reconciliation between the Palestinian groups.” When was that period of calm again? It didn’t end with Israel’s action in Gaza this week. Hamas fired 126 rockets into Israel in November, and 98 in the first three weeks of December. Is the “calm” that Egypt wishes to restore that blissful early morning quiet, broken only by the occasional Kassam missile arcing into Ashkelon?
That staunch defender of human rights, the Tehran mullahcracy, was not in the mood for calm. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi thundered: “This savage and inhuman act by the Zionist regime (Israel) just adds another chapter to its dark criminal and terrorist record and is the result of the painful silence by relevant international organizations.” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, leader of the foreign policy commission, in the Iranian Parliament, added that “the new crimes by the Zionists reflect their savage nature and that of those countries claiming to be civilized and defend human rights.”
The Iranians then began recruiting suicide bombers to go to Gaza — and Israel — on the internet.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s largest Islamic organization, which is dedicated in its own words to “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion [Islam, natch] is made victorious over all other religions” struck a similarly pious tone. Brotherhood Deputy Chairman Mohamed Habib stated that “the Israeli occupation forces are proving to the entire world their disrespect of all international treaties and accords, let alone the values of humanity and divine religions.”
Another human rights beacon, Yemen, denounced “Israeli barbaric aggression and brutal genocides its army carries out against armless Palestinians in Gaza Strip.” Apparently the English English language specialists in the Yemeni government are as adept as its human rights advisers.
Even Iraq condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza. A government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, called upon Israel to cease all operations in Gaza and said that the international community should “take the necessary steps to stop this attack.” That once-renowned “moderate,” Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called upon Islamic nations to act: “Expressing condemnation and denunciation for what is going on against our brothers in Gaza and expressing solidarity with them by words only doesn’t mean anything in the face of the big tragedy they are facing. Now more than at any other time, both Arab and Islamic nations are required to take a practical stance for the sake of stopping this repeated aggression and to break the unfair besieging of these brave people.”
The intrepid journalist Diana West pointed out that these statements came from “the same Iraq President Bush has long predicted will be (when?) “˜an ally in the worldwide struggle against the terrorists” and a “˜strong ally in the Middle East.– And it was the same story in Afghanistan. “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” the Foreign Ministry declared, “is following the recent attacks by Israel on the innocent people of Palestine with great concern and strongly condemns these attacks.”
None of these nations, it must be noted, ever took the trouble to condemn Hamas”s constant rocket barrage against Israeli civilians. None of them were striking pious postures and talking in outraged tones about human rights when Hamas was blowing up ordinary Israeli citizens on buses and in restaurants, and celebrating the mass murderers as heroes.
But most striking of all, and most disquieting, has been the reaction from that bastion of Islamic purity known as London, England. Rioters have battled police, besieging the Israeli embassy and trying to get into the embassy compound, throwing smoke bombs and sticks at the police officers guarding the embassy. Has the city that Melanie Phillips indelibly dubbed “Londonistan” become part of the global Islamic umma? No — at least not yet. But unless the befuddled West regains a sense of its own identity and purpose, it was a harbinger of things to come.