Thursday, January 15, 2009

U.N. Condemns (What Else?) Israel: This Time it's Over an "Aid Complex"

The Jews are at it again. The United Nations condemned Israel's shelling of a completely harmless, innocent, aid complex run by the United Nations for the benefit of the poor, suffering Palestinians in Gaza. And they use white phosphorus! (More about that in another post.)

I'm pretty sure that's the version of what happened that will be talked about around the world, and for years to come.

(Yasser Qdeah/Reuters, via International Herald Tribune, used without permission)
A moving photograph, with the U.N.'s own UNRWA emblem standing amidst the wreckage of Israeli atrocity. In the middle of a big mess, anyway.

There's some truth to it. A warehouse and surrounding complex run by the United Nations was shelled. It's the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) headquarters complex in Gaza City, located (where else?) in a densely populated neighborhood.

UNRWA? That Sounds Familiar

That's the same UNRWA whose schools hired terrorists to teach Palestinian children what Jews are like. It's okay, by the way: UNRWA doesn't believe in unfairly excluding anyone, based on their persuasions. You wouldn't want their hiring practices to be discriminatory, now, would you?

The United Nations: High Ideals; Noble Aspirations; A Little Shaky on Details

Here's what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, in a news conference today: " '[Israeli] Defense Minister Barak said to me it was a grave mistake and he took it very seriously,' " which would seem to prove that the Jews did it, but now see the error of their ways.
Reality Check Number One
That's not quite the whole picture. Israel's spokesman, Mark Regev, said that the matter is still being investigated. Which is quite plausible, considering that the attack happened less than 24 hours ago. Regev also said "Defense Minister Ehud Barak actually told the U.N. chief that 'if it was Israel's fire, it was a grave mistake.' "

That's a very subtle distinction, it seems, for international diplomats and the reporters who cover them to grasp, so Regev tried to clarify his remark, saying:

" was 'not clear whose shells, whose fire hit the U.N. facility.'

" 'It could have been ours, it could have been Hamas', ' Regev said. 'This is being investigated.' "
Reality Check Number Two
We're nowhere close to knowing the whole picture. At this point, less than a day after the attack, I doubt that anyone does. "The fog of war" isn't just a literary phrase. Things aren't quite as clear to people in the middle of a battlefield as they are in a well-written documentary.

The Israeli Defense Minister probably doesn't know exactly what happened. The United Nations Secretary-General certainly doesn't. It takes time, even under ideal circumstances, to interview people, find and collect evidence, correlate testimony and physical evidence, and come up with an answer to 'what happened?' that is reasonably accurate and complete.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.