Friday, April 8, 2011

Yay Middle East News

As you might have heard, the Palestinian Israeli conflict has intensified in the last couple of weeks. There were a couple of articles in today's New York Times that were showing something quite interesting. As always with this topic, of course, everything should be qualified, etc etc...

This being said, the two articles:
  • First, Hamas launched a antitank missile on a school bus. The key paragraphs of the article, for me, were the Israeli assessment of the attack as a targeted attack on the bus
Short-range, inaccurate rockets and mortar shells frequently fall in Israeli territory along the border with Gaza, occasionally hitting houses but more often landing on open ground.
But Israeli security officials said that the Kornet antitank missile fired on Thursday was an advanced and accurate weapon deliberately aimed at the bus. 

  • The second article was on Israel being upset at the potential recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN, in addition to the statement by the IMF that "it viewed the authority as “now able to conduct the sound economic policies expected of a future well-functioning Palestinian state, given its solid track record in reforms and institution-building in the public finance and financial areas.”" The link with the first bullet point is actually the recent op-ed of Richard Goldstone in the Washington Post, arguing that 
 I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.
The Hamas attack was allegedly a deliberate attack towards civilians. Obviously, that depends on our knowledge(which I don't have) of what the "Kornet antitank missile" is, and its actual precision. From Wikipedia
Since the Kornet homing system has a thermal component, it is reasonable to assume that it hit the rear  of the bus by locking on to the heat of the rear mounted engine.
Meanwhile, the validity of the  Goldstone report's initial statement that Israel deliberately killed civilians in the 2009 Gaza war, is questioned by its main author. Note that a lot of the other criticisms of Israel are maintained: from the NYT piece:
his essay did not condemn or retract most of the report, which accused Israel of misusing certain weapons, improperly attacking hospitals and United Nations buildings and aiming at things like food production and water installations. He also noted that Israel had refused to cooperate with the inquiry.
 Those two news seem important in the quest for legitimacy and moral high ground on both sides.

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