Thursday, July 27, 2006

One is Blunder; Twenty-One is Intent

The Israeli government must really think that the rest of the world is utterly stupid. The bombing, yesterday, of a clearly-identified U.N. observation post, after dozens of calls from U.N. officials both on site and in New York and assurances that it wouldn't be targeted, resulted in the death of four U.N. observers. According to early reports, no less than 21 Israeli strikes landed within 300 meters of the outpost (twelve of which within 100 meters) over a six-hour bombing period. According to staff on the ground, and contrary to Israeli claims, there was no Hezbollah activity within the area.

All this notwithstanding, Israel maintains that it was an error, for which it expressed "deep regret." This is where, I think, the world is being taken for a fool. In war, an error is one missile gone astray, or a misidentified target bombed. But when a United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) outpost, there for generations with coordinates well-known by Israel, is subjected to bombing for six long hours, twenty-one times and after numerous calls warning that should the bombing continue lives would be lost—I am sorry, but to conceive of this as a mistake stretches the imagination just a little too much.

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