Israelis have become so accustomed to the idiotic reaction by world leaders whenever Israel goes to war, that we now get a sense of satisfaction from the mere fact that such reaction is not totally one-sided. One Israeli paper has had a headline today saying: "Europe refrains from one-sided condemnation of Israel." Hurray!
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni explained today that "[t]he international community understands that Hamas is an extreme Islamist organization that spreads its hatred in the entire region, which is being supported by Iran. And the international community needs to understand that this is the translation of the right of Israel to defend itself, that there is no other alternative and we are doing what we need to do in order to defend our citizens."
But does it really understand?
The much admired President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy – no doubt a better friend to Israel than his predecessors, and someone who does understand the need to fight against terror – has called today for "an immediate stop to the firing of rockets on Israel and to the Israeli bombings in Gaza and calls for all parties to use restraint." The not-as-much admired British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has said: "I am deeply concerned by continuing missile strikes from Gaza on Israel and by Israel’s response today."
To be fair, these statements do show a predisposition by European leaders to "understand" that deterioration was caused by Hamas’ decision to allow – or more accurately orchestrate – rocket fire into Israel. Thus, they preach first for "stop to the firing of rockets" and only then to "Israeli bombings." But one has to wonder: why the mention of Israel? Why the concern about Israel’s legitimate response to the daily rocketing of its civilians? Why only the reviled US administration has the courage and the clarity to respond to the Gaza operation without feeling the need to engage in linguistic acrobatics?
"The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza," [State Secretary Condoleezza] Rice said.
Middle East complications aside, it is, sometimes, as simple as that.