If you’re old enough you’ll remember Yaakov Smirnoff, a Russian Jewish comic who emigrated to the U.S., and his tongue-in-cheek tagline: “America, what a country!” I feel the same way about the Only Democracy in the Middle East™ defended by the Most Moral Army in the World (it’s true–Alan Dershowitz and Ehud Barak told me so).
Except Israel appears to have a little problem that’s driving that most moral army slightly bonkers. The PA has approved an appeal to the International Criminal Court regarding possible Israeli war crimes during Operation Drop Dead (Cast Lead). Simply not cricket, says chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi. You Fatahniks wanted us to go into Gaza and teach Hamas a lesson. Now you turn on us? Et tu, Abu Mazen!
Tensions are mounting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following Ramallah’s call on the International Court at The Hague to examine claims of “war crimes” that the IDF allegedly committed during Operation Cast Lead…The issue is already weighing…on the relations between the leadership of Israel’s defense and security establishment with their counterparts in the West Bank, and is part of a growing list of Israeli complaints about the behavior of PA officials.
Meanwhile, Israel has warned the Palestinian Authority that it would condition permission for a second cellular telephone provider to operate in the West Bank – an economic issue of critical importance to the PA leadership – on the Palestinians withdrawing their request at the International Court.
I find it astonishing though not surprising that Israel would mix apples and oranges and attempt to use economic blackmail in order to block Israeli moral culpability for its crimes in Gaza. Also, the notion that Israel has a legitimate “complaint” against the PA because it is standing up for Palestinian human rights takes quite a bit of chutzpah on the former’s part.
But the real money quote in this Haaretz story is this one which lays bare the true nature of Israel as a national security state in which all other issues play second fiddle (if that):
…The chief of staff conditioned his approval of a second cellular provider to the Palestinians’ withdrawing their appeal to the court.
“The PA has reached the point where it has to decide whether it is working with us or against us,” senior figures in the defense establishment have said.
Yes, in Israel the chief of the armed forces runs the nation’s telecom policy (when it comes to the Palestinians). And he can use whatever excuse he wishes to draw his troops out from under the shadow of an ICC war crimes charge.
If the following portion of the this report is accurate, then I also find this passage instructive in terms of how seriously Abbas takes the issue of Palestinian human rights (when it’s the human rights of Gazans who support his rival, Hamas). This is something of which Fatah should be ashamed if it is true:
At the PA it is being said, in response to the Israeli demands, that Abbas and Fayyad will water down their appeal to the ICJ, though they will refuse to promise that it will rescinded entirely.
That’s right, selling Palestinian rights for a mess of telecom porridge. This bloody mess reminds me of an abattoir rather than a conference table at which two nations negotiate their differences with respect. If it is an abattoir, I can’t tell you whether Israel or the PA are the butchers, perhaps both.