In Yemen on Monday, as fierce combat between Iran-backed rebels and a Saudi-led coalition continues, a Saudi airstrike targeted a refugee camp – a camp from which insurgents were fighting. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that this situation is similar to that Israel faced in Gaza, though the international reaction is much, much different:
So, taking fire from a civilian area in which shooters were hiding, the Saudis struck back. When Israel does that in Gaza, where it is the common practice of Hamas to hide in and shoot from civilian areas, and to store weapons in schools and hospitals (including those run by the United Nations), what happens? Israel is universally condemned. UN investigation commissions are appointed, and reports such as the egregious “Goldstone Report” (officially, the “The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”) are issued. The UN Security Council holds special sessions, and the UN Human Rights Council adds additional “hate Israel” meetings to its usual list.
I cannot recall an incident where Israel struck at a refugee camp and killed 40 people all at once, also injuring 200 others, but I am willing to bet on the world reaction to this Saudi attack: zero. No meetings, commissions, no reports.
What are the lessons to be drawn? That the Arab group and the Islamic nations have more votes in the UN than Israel, which of course has but one. That there is an indefensible double standard when it comes to evaluating Israel. And, that hiding behind civilians is a widespread crime. Nothing new here.