State Department Overstates Its Case Against Israel

The U.S. Department of State has issued its annual "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" for 2002. The report, submitted to the Congress in compliance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, provides information on the human rights practices for countries that receive foreign aid from the United States. I am not sure who writes the report for the State Department - whether it is a political analyst or the secretary in the front office - but one thing is sure: they do not read the facts or understand what their own government is doing in regards to human rights practices.

The report for Israel is listed under "Israel and the occupied territories." As in the past, the report slams Israel for, basically, defending herself in the midst of her own sovereign land. After having read the forty-one page portion pertaining to "Israel and the occupied territories" I am not sure if it is even worth it to delve too deep into the subject matter. However, several glaring charges stand out that should be addressed.

The beginning of the report gives a general background of the State of Israel up to the present. The conclusion is that, although Israel attempted several avenues to negotiate peace with the Arabs (a.k.a. 'Palestinians'), it just did not work. However, the report is quick to point out that the Quartet (the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union, and the United Nations) "conducted a series of ministerial-level meetings to develop a Road Map to reach their vision of two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security." Notice it is "their" (the Quartet's) vision and not necessarily Israel's and the Arabs.

For some reason, as it did last year, the State Department chose to reduce the number of terrorist attacks it listed. According to IDF statistics there were 5,449 terrorist attacks in 2002. The U.S. report only lists 226. The report also fails to mention that the Yasser Arafat-led Fatah had carried out many of these attacks. Instead, they stated, "Most of the attacks were organized by a number of Palestinian terrorist groups, including the militant Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades." The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is also a branch of the Arafat-led Fatah organization.

The report makes several statements regarding alleged abuses by the Israel security forces, concluding that "members of the security forces committed serious human rights abuses in the occupied territories and regarding Palestinian detainees." The statements are made as if they are a foregone conclusion having already been tried and proven. One interesting statement provides a good example: "Israeli military courts tried Palestinians 'accused' of committing acts of violence and terror in Israeli-controlled areas. Members of the Israeli security forces 'committed' numerous, serious human rights abuses [the quotes are mine]."

Statements are made over and over again that, while purportedly presenting facts, are reported in such a manner as to be grossly misleading, making it seem as if Israel had hunted down and killed innocent Arab civilians. One statement, for example, boldly proclaimed, "Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military actions against Palestinians included violence and abuse at checkpoints, incursions into Palestinian-controlled towns and villages, targeted killings, firing toward civilian areas with tanks and fighter aircraft, and intense gun battles with Palestinian shooters." There is no record of ongoing "violence and abuse at checkpoints." What has transpired is, because of PLO-sanctioned terrorism, security has become stricter at the checkpoints, much like what the United States has had to do in Iraq. (In the United States terminology, for Israel it is "violence and abuse"; for the U.S. it is "the casualty of war.") Also note that the terrorists are called "shooters." The "targeted killings" are exactly what is being done by U.S. Special Operatives right now in Iraq.

Over and over again the report makes it seem as if Israel is responsible for a good portion of the violence. While there have been a few incidents, the overwhelming majority of violence has been initiated by the Arabs.

Statements are made out of nowhere regarding prostitution and spousal abuse as if the State of Israel was somehow involved and responsible for it. There are also several mentions of the sub-standard living conditions of the Arabs, as if it were also Israel's fault. The plain truth is that the reason why many of the Arabs live in Israel is because, before the devastation and destruction brought on by the current Arab-initiated Oslo War, most Arabs in Israel had a higher standard of living than those in Arab countries.

One of the most amazing statements concerns complaints made by Moslems regarding Israel failing to renovate mosques where there is no Moslem population. It is not up to Israel to maintain mosques. (These are the same places where messages of hate and jihad are preached against Israel.) But the most amazing thing is the failure to mention that the Arabs, under the watchful eye of the PA/PLO police, utterly destroyed the tomb of Joseph in Shechem (Nablus). Not even one small sentence or reference to this destruction was made in the report. The Arabs also continue to refuse to allow Israel access to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Only Moslems are allowed to go up on the Mount.

The United States also seems to make the same distinction between Israelis as the Arab terrorists do: civilian, settlers, and soldiers.

In all fairness the report does make mention of violations of human rights by the Arabs but not to the degree that it does about Israel. Also, most of the accusations against Israel are either completely false or lack the evidence to substantiate the charges. Many of the charges are also taken out-of-context. Israel is in the midst of a war. It is not as if these were just juvenile delinquents.

In light of its current war in Iraq, the United States has made many inconsistent statements regarding Israel's defense of her own sovereign land. Yet, the United States is currently doing in Iraq many of the things that it condemns Israel for, i.e. firing into civilian-populated areas and taking aggressive security measures at checkpoints. While all of these things may be justified, the United States does not have the right to condemn Israel for defending herself against the same enemy in the midst of her own sovereign land. And it is the same enemy ... Islam.

[ Lee Underwood, Editor - Emet News Service | Published: April 3, 2003 ]

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