There have been practically no encounters between Israel and Arabs in which an accusation of a massacre of some sort wasn't made. The most recent incident, last December's Gaza operation, is being played out now, as both sides offer discrepant civilian death counts and cite contradictory 'expert' sources. A UN war crimes investigation, led by
The report demands that Israel conduct an investigation of its own within the next three months. Amongst other information the report appears to have ignored, is the fact that the IDF has already examined more than 100 allegations regarding the conduct of its forces during Operation Cast Lead, which have resulted in a further 23 criminal investigations.
The fact that no other investigation is underway against any other state, despite recent conflicts in which thousands of civilians have been killed, is yet another example of the double standard Israelis find so infuriating. For example, for years the government of Sri Lanka fought Tamil rebels in the north of the country. The Tamils are claiming independence for this area where they constitute a majority of the population. Over the course of this period it is estimated some 70,000-80,000 civilians have been killed (as compared to the 500-700 Gaza civilians killed in the recent fighting). Has the UN Human Rights Council equally condemned Sri Lanka and singled it out as it has Israel? In fact, they dismissed it as "an internal matter."
How about Russia where the recent invasion of Georgia claimed, according to some sources, around 20,000 lives? As for Chechnya, there are no solid figures for the number of civilians killed since the second war began in late 1999, but estimates range anywhere between 25,000 and 200,000. When Russian soldiers have admitted brutality, condemnation from the UN has been conspicuously absent. "I remember a Chechen female sniper," a Russian soldier told L.A. Times reporter Maura Reynolds. "We just tore her apart with two armored personnel carriers, having tied her ankles with steel cables. There was a lot of blood, but the boys needed it."
It would appear that it is only the Jewish 'moral compass' that some critics see as out of whack. But our ‘moral compass’ is just fine, thank you. Anyone who knows anything about Judaism will understand the abhorrence at taking lives - any lives - Israeli soldiers feel. While I'm not dismissing the possibility that terrible incidents have occured - we're still dealing with flawed humans in a citizen's army, after all, who make mistakes, get angry, are stupid - anyone familiar with the situation knows that much of the criticism of the recent mission in Gaza came from Israelis. Self-criticism and introspection is alive and well here.
Beyond Gaza, it's worth remembering that other alleged 'massacres,' such as the Jenin libel, have already been debunked, even by experts generally sympathetic to the Palestinian cause (Most NGOs and international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, tend to deal in half-truths, which are more difficult to counter, rather than outright lies).
All of which reminds me of a saying about truth and war. But Benjamin Disraeli really put it best when he wrote: "It is easier to be critical than correct."