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Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani is the senior editor with Trend News Agency and is a journalist, author and political analyst based in Baku, specializing in the Middle…

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Disproportionate Reaction To Death Fans the Flames of Hatred

Disproportionate Reaction To Death Fans the Flames of Hatred

When it comes to the Muslim Arab world, Western nations have often been accused of maintaining a double standard about the value of human life, holding one set of rules for the West and Israel and another for Arabs.

Some voices in the Middle East have gone as far as suggesting that, were it not for its oil wealth, the West would not give a second thought to what happens in turmoil-wracked Arab countries.

These days, as evidence, they point to Washington’s decision to go to war with Iraq to liberate oil-rich Kuwait, but its seeming passivity as Israel invades and bombards the Gaza Strip because three of its citizens were murdered in the West Bank. True, the West was much more dependent on Middle East oil back in the 1980s and 90s. And of course, there is a great difference in the type of U.S. foreign policy advanced by two separate Bush presidents and current President Barak Obama, who even some hardcore party Democrats have said lacks a coherent foreign policy.

It is not Israel’s right to defend itself that is questioned - no one will ever say that Israel, or any country in the world, does not have the right to defend itself. When Hamas launches rockets at Israel, it should expect Israel to reciprocate. However, targeting civilians is what terrorists do. It must not be accepted when it becomes normal behavior for a supposedly democratic nation.

Despite the double standards practiced in Israel -- where one set of rules applies to Israelis and Jews, and another for Palestinians -- Israel is seen as a democratic country surrounded by Arab and Muslim nations incapable of following democratic principles.

Critics of the Arab world say that the Arabs have forever been fighting among themselves and are incapable of living in harmony or practicing democracy.

Related Article: Geopolitics and the Changing Oil Market

So how true are these accusations? Does the West really maintain a double standard?

Judge for yourself. Close to 300 people died in the terrible crash of Malaysia Airways Flight 17, and much anger was voiced the world over. The British tabloid press was just about calling for a war on Russia, and in Washington, D.C., a senior member of Congress warned that if it were proven that Russia was responsible for the downing of Flight 17, “there would be hell to pay.”

The indignation was generalized and justified, and many were those who were ready to launch World War III without waiting for confirmation that Russia was responsible or not.

Meanwhile in Gaza, more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed and many more wounded, thousands rendered homeless, and many children orphaned, and there is hardly a voice in the West rising up to scream in their name.  

This seeming indifference to Muslim suffering is a perfect example of the kind of double standard that is devastating relations between the West and the Muslim world and planting the seeds of future conflicts.

When Osama bin Laden was interviewed after al-Qaeda’s attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in 2001, he said he had been influenced by Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in Lebanon.

Even former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak admitted that the Palestinian cause was often used as an excuse by leaders in the Arab world to control a situation, to impose martial law and to keep their countries in a state of war with Israel. (As has been the case in Syria, for example.)

Related Article: The Coming Storm In The Middle East

The Palestinians’ plight has long been the leitmotif behind much of the violence and terrorism originating in the Middle East over the past several decades. More often that not, the Palestinian cause is merely used as an excuse. But whether the anger it generates is real or not, there is always the reality that it remains a powerful magnet capable of attracting disenfranchised Muslim youth, who are often searching for a cause. The Palestinian cause also remains one of the reasons Iran remains involved in Middle Eastern affairs.

During the Cold War, Moscow financed and helped arm the left wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization. But with the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, so too disappeared groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), secularist groups led respectively by
Christian Arabs, George Habbashand Nayef Hawatmeh.

The Internet has given people in the Middle East a window onto what the rest of the world thinks and says about their situation. When they compare the international anger over the deaths of some 300 people accidentally shot down in a plane to the near total silence over the deaths of more than 1,000 Palestinians deliberately targeted by a government, it should come as no great surprise to Westerners when groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria rise to prominence.

By Claude Salhani of Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • peter on July 29 2014 said:
    It was almost an interesting article until:

    "more than 1,000 Palestinians deliberately targeted by a government."

    It's just not true and renders the rest of the information totally unreliable.
  • pop on July 29 2014 said:

    but beware - criticizing Israel inevitably has repercussions

    you are now marked for life and flagged in US and other western databases as a terrorist

    be careful where you go

  • T blazek on July 30 2014 said:
    Its hard to have compassion for people who are intent on starting wars and fighting all the time. Should we feel sorry for a people that cheers as they indiscremeny fire over 2000 rockets into lsreal cities? Or cheer when three Isrealy children are murdered? Hamas started this latest round of fighting and it's Hamas's responsibility to make peace not everyone else's.
  • Alpha on July 30 2014 said:
    Very well precisely written Article. Justice must prevail. Very well done.
  • Claude Salhani on July 30 2014 said:
    Dear Peter,

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your objecting to my saying "deliberately targeting." Let me ask you this: have you ever been to Gaza?I would assume not, given your comment. when you fire rockets at Gaza you don's really need to "target civilians." they will be on the receiving end of anything fired at the Strip. The Gaza Strip is a small, crowded and over-populated piece of land that it would be impossible not to hit civilians. Secondly, two ongoing trends in this Middle East conflict. the first is that regretfully the Palestinian resistance, be it Fatah or Hamas, has always mingled with the population, while not excusable, this is what a resistance is meant to do. and secondly, Israel in shooting back at the resistance always hits civilians. I was based in West Beirut during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel and I know what i am talking about.

    this article is not meant to bash any one side.
  • Claude Salhani on July 30 2014 said:
    Dear Pop,

    thank you for your comments. i did not think that this article is anti-Israeli. it is intended to alert public opinion of emerging trends in the region. if some people prefer to shoot the messenger rather than to pay attention to the message, they will end up paying the price of ignorance.
  • ayres on July 30 2014 said:
    It's well documented that the Israeli's take great care in trying to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas strategy of human shields is intentional to drive up death so the world can be outraged is wearing thin with the rest of us. The Palestinians allied with Hamas have brought these attacks upon themselves. Now we find out that basically the UN is in on the whole charade using US money.

    The current population in Gaza is incapable of building a nation so that's out. They are condemned to their narrow focus and ability to only hate Israeli's who will be forced to defend themselves. The cycle could easily be broken if Palestinians would forces on their own prosperity instead of their jealousy of others and building tunnels designed to attack Israel. Ab.
  • j on July 31 2014 said:
    Dear Ayres,
    If Israel took such great care to avoid civilians then why are so many dying? as John Kerry said sarcastically "some precisions strikes."

    Also I'm not sure if you read anything other than Netanyahu's press office but HRW among other organizations have not found any proof of Hamas using "civilians as human shields".

    Yes, Gaza should "forces on their own prosperity" (i assume you mean focus). Are you not aware Gaza is occupied by Israel? That is not according to me by the way but by the United Nations. Israel calculates Gazas caloric intake. It also controls what goes in and out of Gaza, a place where 90% of the drinking water is untenable. Even pro-Israeli experts admit that Gaza is under siege by Israel. So, per your comments: No, Israel must stop attacking Gaza if it wants peace.

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