Friday, January 22, 2010

A disproportionate response?


by Melanie Phillips


The unfolding mega-disaster in Haiti has exposed in the most sickening form the utter uselessness of the UN. Of course, it must be acknowledged that the UN is itself one of the victims of this tragedy, with more than 100 of its staff said to have been killed in the earthquake and its aftermath.  And yes, the wholesale destruction of Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure means that the difficulties in getting supplies to the people are exceptional.


Nevertheless, the key problem appears to be a total absence of leadership, so that no-one is taking control of the situation. Haiti’s own government is unable to do this; until yesterday, America was taking a back seat waiting upon the UN to do the business. But the UN has conspicuously failed to do so. As a result, while the countries of the developed world have been pouring in aid and supplies, this has been piling up while the people of Haiti are dying from injury, disease and lack of water.  And now that the US has finally lost patience and piled in troops to deliver supplies to the people, there are predictable cries from the French -- and doubtless other knee-jerk America-bashers – that America is ‘occupying’ Haiti. Such is the derangement of the anti-America obsession.


In answer to the charge that the UN is useless as a global forum in promoting peace in the world, the retort is often that it nevertheless plays an invaluable role in providing aid and relief to the world’s destitute. Haiti shows us the tragic hollowness of that claim. And yet, as we have seen from America’s hesitation in getting stuck into the relief operation in Haiti, world leaders regard international action as suspect unless it has the imprimatur of the UN. Thus decency is paralysed, with the result that countless millions fall victim to death and disease, tyranny and destitution because of the endemic incompetence and worse of the global body that purports to represent the world.


In Haiti, however, there has been one foreign nation that has conspicuously broken free of this paralysis and has had no difficulty in setting up emergency aid for the Haitian victims. That country is Israel.  Within hours of the earthquake striking, the Israeli media was reporting that Israel was assembling a team of no fewer than 220 emergency aid personnel to fly to the stricken country. As this CNN report shows, the Israelis have set up a fully equipped field hospital in Port-au-Prince treating wounded and sick Haitian victims. The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated:


Between Friday night and Saturday dozens of truckloads of medical and logistical equipment were unloaded and the field hospital set up. The Israeli delegation landed in the capital of Port-Au-Prince yesterday evening and has located itself in a soccer field near the air port. Upon arrival C4I teams deployed communications infrastructure in preparations for the hospital's establishment. Two teams comprised of search and rescue personnel and canine operators from the IDF canine unit were sent out on rescue missions. The first team was sent to the Haiti UN headquarters in order to assist in rescuing survivors. The rescue teams are working in cooperation with local authorities in order to reach disaster struck areas where survivors can be located and assisted.


A further Israel Foreign Ministry bulletin states that so far 200 patients have been treated. It would appear that it is only Israel which has managed to establish such advanced assistance this quickly. One desperate American aid worker tells CNN:


I’ve been here since Thursday; no-one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients.


Another remarks of the Israeli field hospital:


It’s like another world here compared to the other hospitals. They have imaging... my God, they have machines here, operating theatres, ventilators, monitoring, it’s just amazing.


Of any American field hospital, there is apparently not yet any sign. The reporter observes that the Israelis have come from the other side of the world. Another aid worker says it makes them ashamed to be Americans.


Israel sent a team of 220 aid workers. Israel has a population of six million. The population of Britain is 60 million. I’d say that was a disproportionate Israeli response, wouldn’t you?


by Melanie Phillips

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



Salubrius said...

I have to agree that the Israeli response to the attack by Hamas was disproportionate. But disproportionate to what? Under International Law the response to an attack in self defense must be proportionate to the military objective to be obtained. After 8,000 missiles and mortar shells rained down on Israel, it cannot be disputed that the military objective was to stop it. Did it? No. I am advised that from the end of Operation Cast Lead to January 8, 2010 there have been an additional 280 rocket and mortar attacks. More force could have and should have been applied. Quod erat demonstrandum, the force that was applied was disproportionate to the military objective..

Elle said...

Excellent article about Israeil promptness to aid Haiti, makes me so proud to be Israeli an of the IDF, to Salubrius, excellent observance on your part, exactly right, more force was needed, due to women & children out where their not supposed to be, IDF was hampered in their efforts to eliminate terrorists in an effort to safeguard civilian shields.

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