Civilians accidentally killed during counter-terrorism operations matter only when
On Monday NATO announced that two errant rockets fired by
But there has been no outcry or condemnations, certainly not from democratic governments or even from the UN. The lack of an international response seems to reflect awareness that the killings were accidental and that it is intrinsic to the nature of war that such incidents occur.
But it was different back on November 8, 2006, when three misfired Israeli artillery shells hit a residential area in the town of
Nevertheless, in this case there was an international response. The then-external relations chief of the European Union, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said, "The killing this morning of so many civilians in
The then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the incident "shocking" and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — touted to this day as
Some years ago Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician and author, formulated the "3-D test" for distinguishing between legitimate criticism of
Two years after the Beit Hanoun incident, as it became clear that small-scale operations, ceasefires, and all other attempts had failed to stop the ongoing rain of rockets from
It can be cautiously assessed that since the Beit Hanoun incident, knee-jerk anti-Israeli reactions among the democracies have given way to greater sympathy. Conservative leaders have taken or returned to office in France, Germany, and Italy, and in the Human Rights Council and General Assembly votes on the Goldstone Report, some democracies — led by the U.S. — supported Israel and others abstained (cowardly but an improvement on the past).
NATO countries, particularly the
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