Latest update: June 5th, 2013
Back in 2009, the now infamous Goldstone Report was first released by the UN’s Human Rights Council. Regrettably, it took an unreasonably one-sided look at Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, originally choosing to ignore vital aspects of antecedent anti-Israel terrorism. Most conspicuously disregarded by Judge Goldstone was this principal fact: Israel’s purposefully limited military operation had represented an essential self-defense action, one that had also been supported by longstanding codified and customary international law.
In essence, thoroughly unreported was the information that Cast Lead had been initiated reluctantly by Israel, and solely to ward off unending and still-escalating acts of Palestinian terrorism.
To recall the pertinent details even more fully, by the end of December 2008 nothing had been working to safeguard Israel from relentless terror attacks. All attempts at diplomacy had already failed in the face of a hideously recalcitrant enemy, one that was literally and lasciviously intoxicated by opportunities to inflict terror violence. At that time, could Jerusalem have chosen to rely more heavily for protection on the “international community”? The question itself is preposterous, a prima facie expression of an absurdly otherworldly naiveté.
On December 27, 2008, Israel commenced Operation Cast Lead. It was a long-delayed and substantially limited response to eight years of continuously barbarous Hamas terror. Ultimately, the entire operation was over in less than a month. True to established IDF doctrine, the conflict was designed and executed as an inherently short operation.
Most IDF activity had been directed toward destroying the thousands of still-remaining Hamas rockets, and to slowing the massive smuggling of arms from Egypt into Gaza. At the same time, Cast Lead had sought to reduce the incidence of future terror attacks upon Israelis, including so-called martyrdom attacks, not just those randomly inflicted assaults that were being launched, at a conveniently safe distance, by Palestinian mortars and Kassams.
Oddly, even today, the legally unsupportable idea of terror bombing as “resistance” is widely accepted throughout the world as permissible. At times, especially when it is a “suicide bombing,” this tactic is celebrated as “heroic.” What all such plainly romanticized views ignore is not merely the flagrant and incontestable violations of law, particularly violations of the basic or “peremptory” principle of discrimination or distinction (between combatants and noncombatants), but also the core medical and human horror of what these terrorists actually unleash.
For Boston, in the wake of the Marathon attack, and indeed for America, Israel may be a microcosm. Israel has suffered thousands of terror attacks since the start of the misconceived Oslo “Peace” Accords in 1993. Whether perpetrated by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, these attacks have intentionally killed and maimed large numbers of unprotected civilians, usually women and children.
Typically, post-attack casualty counts refer to those maimed victims as “merely wounded,” but this is a notably grave misrepresentation of what is genuinely being suffered.
What, exactly, does it mean to be merely wounded in an Arab “martyrdom” or more long distance terror-bombing attack?
Today, the authoritative answer to this question may apply equally to the recent victims of the Boston Marathon bombing here in the United States.
By looking back systematically at Israeli terror victims, we can learn more about what actually happened to recent terror victims in Boston, and what could still happen elsewhere in the uncertain American future.
Sometimes, the human impact of terrorist bombings can be made at least partially evident on radiographic images. X-rays of terror bombing victims in Israel have shown hundreds of metallic fragments, ranging in size from millimeters to whole nails, embedded in the victims’ bodies – literally, from head to foot. What had been created originally by civilized human beings for constructive purposes is now being transformed by both anti-Israel and anti-U.S. terrorists into the cruelest of aimless projectiles.
In Boston as in Tel Aviv, nails, screws, nuts, and ball-bearings were included by the bombers to maximize lethal effects and also, of course, to inflict gratuitous pain and suffering on victims’ bodies. These objects, sometimes after being dipped in rat poison, or other available toxins, are deliberately propelled into skin, flesh, and bone with the ballistic force of bullets.
There is more. Usually, the nails fly head first, presenting themselves in a strangely surreal yet also orderly arrangement within the victims’ bodies. Many are embedded “only” to the depth of their entrance sites. Others burrow their way in more deeply, and lodge palpably under the skin, where the examining physician can touch and feel their alien presence.
About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.
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