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April 02, 2003

We are all Israelis now

This piece was posted at Goldwater Mideast reality
EZRA LEVANT -- Calgary Sun

Allied troops are now finding out what it is like to be Israeli.

Like Israel, the Allied coalition has had little problem dispatching the Iraqi army in open combat.

Credible reports from one battle claimed that 300 Iraqi soldiers were killed without a single American casualty.

Lop-sided numbers like these are reminiscent of Israeli battles with its Arab neighbours, particularly the 1967 Six-Day War and 1982 battle over the Bekaa Valley.

Allied commanders report their chief opposition comes from Iraqi paramilitary guerrillas, often dressed as civilians, hiding in apartments, mosques and hospitals. Sometimes they pretend to surrender -- and then attack when the Allies let down their guard. There have also been several suicide attacks on Allied troops.

In the city of Basra, Saddam's Fedayeen -- the Iraqi version of Hitler's Brownshirts -- forced other Iraqi soldiers at gunpoint to fight against the Allies.

In one case, Fedayeen dressed in U.S. military uniforms, pretended to be Americans and called for Iraqi troops to surrender to them.

Those that did so were killed.

In other words, Saddam's loyalists are resorting to terrorist tactics, including terrorizing their own people.

That's been the state of affairs in Israel for decades.

Suicide bombings are a weekly event in Israel -- but they target pizza parlours and buses, not just Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian bomb-makers hide munitions factories in densely crowded Arab shanties, relying on Israelis' aversion to civilian casualties.

That's Saddam's plan in Baghdad, too.

Iraq knows that its greatest weapon is western public opinion -- and that the international media and diplomatic establishment will always give Iraq the benefit of the doubt. Iraqis are already trumping up civilian casualties to discredit Allied commanders.

As if on cue, Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN, accepted without question the Iraqi claim that Allied commanders are massacring civilians.

Specifically repeating one Iraqi allegation, Annan said:
"I would want to remind all belligerents that they should respect international humanitarian law to protect civilians. Besides, they are responsible for the welfare of the civilian population."

To Allied ears, it is shocking to hear Annan criticize American tactics, but not Saddam's.

What about Iraqi executions of Allied PoWs? Or Iraqi tanks hidden in the middle of hospitals?

France's reaction was even more galling.

In London last week, Dominique de Villepin, France's Foreign Minister, refused to answer a reporter's question about which side France hoped would win the war.

This perfidy is nothing new for Israel, the universal scapegoat at the UN and the European Union, and the subject of their most one-sided excoriations.

For decades, sophisticated experts have lectured us about how concepts of right and wrong don't apply to the Mideast.

They have renamed terrorists "militants" and dictators as "friends" or "allies."
They have cast democratic Israel as the aggressor.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the fictions of that world view were exposed. Terrorists cannot be negotiated with or compromised with. They are enemies who must be defeated. The word "evil", long out of fashion, has been taken out of storage. It is the only word that is accurate.

The Allies are now seeing first-hand what Israel has faced for decades.

And George Bush and Tony Blair are responding as Ariel Sharon does:

With moral clarity -- military force, combined with humanitarian compassion.

Sept. 11 turned all of us into targets. It has forced all of us to confront evil. We are all Israelis now. Ezra Levant can be reached at
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