Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations blasted a report by UN Humanitarian Affairs chief, John Holmes which sharply criticized actions in Gaza that resulted in the death of hundreds of Gaaza civilians. Gabriela Shaley charged the report was biased and ignored the fact thousands of rockets had been fired into Israel from Gaza. “The report completely ignores the context in which Israel’s defensive actions were taken.” A defensive tone increasingly characterizes Israel’s respond to any critical comments directed toward its government. The Netanyahu government has still to grasp that George Bush no longer is in charge of American foreign policy and there is no one in the American government who automatically supports any action on the part of Israel.
A defensive tone will only go so far. The Obama administration is taking a proactive stance toward the Palestinian-Israel conflict. It waits in vain for a proactive stance from Netanyahu who believes whatever Israel has done in the past can not be changed. The American Congress which has completely supported Israel for decades is now asking questions and demanding changes not cosmetic smoothing over of West Bank policy. The world awaits a proactive Israel statement on foreign policy which outlines concrete steps to curtail West Bank building and lift the embargo in Gaza which only serves to strengthen Hamas, not damage its power.
It is time for Israel to look forward and cease returning to the past to justify every violation of human rights.