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Posted: 5/3/2002 4:21:21 AM EDT
The NEW YORK POST May 3, 2002 THE REAL WAR CRIME By RALPH PETERS http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/42214.htm -- A TERRIBLE war crime has been committed in the West Bank. It will have far-reaching and heartbreaking consequences. But it has nothing to do with lies about an imaginary massacre in Jenin. The war crime - committed brazenly before a global audience - is the occupation of the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, by Palestinian terrorists. Where is the outcry? International law forbids the parties to armed conflict from using churches, as well as hospitals, museums and monuments, for military activities. The Laws of Land Warfare are even stricter. The United Nations, which is ever quick to condemn Israel, has been silent about this violation, even though the Palestinian actions violate the UN's own rules. The church is even under UNESCO designation as a protected site. Even the ancient tradition of murderers, thieves and other criminals seeking sanctuary on holy ground denies them the right to take weapons into the sacred precincts. Under every single applicable code of law, as well as the custom of nations, every Palestinian who carried a gun into the Church of the Nativity, turning it into a fortress, is a war criminal. Not one voice has been raised to condemn them. Why? The fact is that, beyond Europe's reflexive anti-Semitism, liberal racism plays a role. Despite widespread criticism of Israel as inhumane, the world holds Israel to a much higher standard than it does any of Israel's mortal enemies. Bluntly put, this is just a left-wing version of the pathetic old notion that "our little brown brothers" aren't really as capable or as responsible as "we" are. The motivations of Israel's critics are as disgraceful as their one-sided condemnations are unjust. The Palestinians did not decide spontaneously, by telepathy, to gather in the Church of the Nativity as the Israelis approached. The action was planned well in advance, as any veteran would recognize. The church had been predesignated as a rallying point for hard-core terrorists and others who feared Israeli retaliation - doubtless with Yasser Arafat's blessing. The immediate and well-organized occupation of one of Christianity's holiest shrines was an illegal, cynical gambit. The Palestinians knew they could count on several things: * First, the Israelis do observe international law, and they respect religious and cultural monuments. Unless savagely provoked, they would not even fire in the direction of the church, so the terrorists were safe from immediate capture. * Second, despite the level of provocation from inside, any Israeli action could be portrayed as an attack on a Christian shrine. * Third, any damage to that shrine would be blamed on the Israelis, on their tanks and firepower, by those portions of the world anxious to paint Israel as a land of devilish aggressors. In that regard, we should be prepared for an orgy of destruction on the part of the church's occupiers.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 4:21:57 AM EDT
The Palestinians stole a lesson from, of all people, Gandhi, though they corrupted it hideously. Despite his litany of complaints about British inhumanity, Gandhi knew the British courts in India would never hang him, and he turned London's sense of decency and fair play - as well as the rule of law - against the British themselves. So, too, the Palestinian terrorists count on Israel's sense of decency and morality, as well as its laws, to save them from the justice they deserve. Why does this matter to us? Apart from our emotional and spiritual ties to the site, if we are Christians? And our respect for the sanctity of the shrine, no matter our religion? It matters because the Palestinian terrorists in Bethlehem just set a precedent. They broke all the laws and rules - and got away with it. Instead of condemning them, the world "community" has shown a tragic, nearsighted tolerance for their deed. By turning the Church of the Nativity into a gangsters' hide-out, the Palestinians placed themselves on the same level as the Taliban savages who destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas. Instead of expressing its outrage, this time the world showered the criminals with sympathy. The result will be future occupations of churches and synagogues, the military use of hospitals, the betrayal of symbols such as the red cross and red crescent, and the inevitable destruction of cultural monuments in the name of one deluded cause or murderous movement after another. The Church of the Nativity has just been turned into the Golgotha of the remaining rules of armed conflict. Welcome to war in the 21st century. Ralph Peters is a retired military officer and the author of the soon-to-be-released "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World" (Stackpole).
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 9:38:01 AM EDT
BTT for those who see a moral equivalence between the two sides.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 9:45:12 AM EDT
It's sad these losers blow up many suicide bombers and the worthless UN does nothing. Israel fights back and The UN calls an emergency meeting. I hope the Israelis really did massacre them at Jenins. No ther Arab countries want them, and neither do the Israeli's. Israel has offered them everything they wanted only to have it thrown back in their face.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 9:55:39 AM EDT
In the now defunct peace accord Israel said the Palestinians were free to govern themselves and Palestinians agreed Israel has a right to exist. Israel even equiped the Palestinian police force with M16s. Now they turn on Israel using the very weapons given to them in good faith. I have no sympathy for the Palestinians. Shok
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