Ehud Olmert is losing his mind. Well, perhaps it’s not quite that bad (though my blogging colleagues in Lebanon might disagree). But he’s definitely lost all inhibition against twisting historical facts in a feeble attempt to get the world off Israel’s back for its barbarity in Lebanon:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told European leaders to stop preaching to him about civilian war casualties in an interview published on Sunday in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
Olmert also said it would not be possible to completely destroy Hezbollah and insisted he did not underestimate them.
“Where do they get the right to preach to Israel?” Olmert said when asked about criticism from European capitals of Israeli military operations that have led to a heavy civilian toll.
“European countries attacked Kosovo and killed ten thousand civilians. Ten thousand! And none of these countries had to suffer before that from a single rocket.
Where to start in unraveling the mendaciousness? First, Olmert is collapsing the Serbia war against Kosovo in 1998-99 which killed many thousands of Kosovars (Wikipedia estimates that 10,000 were killed) and the subsequent NATO campaign against Serbia which attempted to pry Serbia’s death grip off of Kosovo’s throat. Olmert seems to want us to believe that NATO (“European countries”) killed 10,000 civilians. This is a bald-faced lie since Serbia did the lion’s share of the killing well before NATO came along. As distinguished an organization as Human Rights Watch tells us that NATO killed 500 Serbian civilians during its campaign, not 10,000. And Israel has already far exceeded killing that number of Lebanese in a much shorter time (78 days in Serbia and 26 days in Lebanon).
But even if Olmert wishes to confuse the issue by claiming that Serbia was one of the “European countries” participating in the Kosovo mayhem, the analogy still blows up in his face. Because Milosevic and his inner circle pursued precisely the same type of scorched earth campaign against Kosovo that Israel is pursuing against Lebanon. If anything NATO is at fault for letting Serbia carry on with the killing as long as it did. In this, the analogy to the Lebanon war is apt. The world has also allowed this bestial horror to go on far longer than it should. It should bring Israel to heel just as it did Serbia. But not by bombs this time. Rather, Israel’s patron state, the U.S. must take a firm stand for an immediate cessation of hostilities. It must tell the Israelis to stop their firing in Lebanon just as NATO told Milosevic to stand down from Kosovo.