Monday, January 05, 2009

The real disproportion According to BHL

" Israeli army does not target the children. They do not target the civilians. The Hamas, when they bomb the cities of the south of Israel where there is not army, they really target the civilians."

In his Sunday programme, GPS, Fareed Zakaria talked to Bernard-Henri Levy, the author of the book, "Who Killed Daniel Pearl," who has written extensively on the issue of anti-Semitism and Islam. Here are a few excerpts:

"LEVY: ... you just asked previously how many dead in Israel from these rockets. This is a good question. But the answer is, why so little casualties?

The price of that is that a lot of people in Israel, all of the southern part of the territory, lives in caves, lives in the basements of the buildings. So, of course there is little casualties. But the price of that is an absolutely un-normal life.

I was in Sderot, one of the cities bombed daily since month. I was there a few months ago. People live there like the people of Sarajevo 15 years ago, leaving the streets a ghost city, a ghost town. No city in America or in Europe could live this way.

ZAKARIA: But do you believe, Bernard, that the effect of the Israeli incursion is straining relations in Europe? Is it causing some kind of spillover, you know, the way that people talk about events in the Middle East as having a radicalizing effect around the world?

LEVY: Of course, it is a question. But there is another question, which is that Gaza has to be liberated from the Hamas. The worst enemy of the Palestinian people, the worst enemy is not Israel, is not, of course, Mahmoud Abbas -- is the Hamas.

Hamas is the enemy of the Palestinian people. This Israeli operation, of course, is an operation in favor of Israel, but also in favor of the Palestinian people.

You know, when the Hamas decided to break the cease-fire, when they said in a unilateral way would break the cease-fire, they knew what they did. They knew that they were exposing their people, their children, transformed into some living "boucliers," some human shields. They transformed them into targets. The worst enemy of the Palestinian is today the Hamas. This is the main question.

Now, spillover -- this is another question. The (inaudible) ...


ZAKARIA: But of course, Bernard, Hamas won an election in Gaza. So, how does one liberate a people from -- you know, this is not a small terrorist organization. This is an organization that has deep roots in the Palestinian community, does it not?

LEVY: You know, you have so many examples in history. I don't want to compare what is not comparable.

But when Hitler ruled Germany, he was elected by the German people. He had huge roots in the German people. Nevertheless, when he was defeated by the Allied armies, you had a great German president who said that it was the liberation of the German people.

You can be elected and you can be a tyrant. You can be elected, and you can be the curse, the malediction of your people. Hamas is one of the names of the malediction of the Palestinian people.

And number two, as the Israeli, for me the image of the Palestinian children killed is really heartbreaking. And for me it is the same. A Palestinian child killed breaks my heart as much, of course, as an Israeli child killed.

But the main difference is that Israeli army does not target the children. They do not target the civilians. The Hamas, when they bomb the cities of the south of Israel where there is not army, they really target the civilians. This is a huge difference.

The famous rockets, the famous Kassam of Hamas are targeting the civilians. So, it is a crime of war, "un crime de guerre," a war crime. It is clearly that since months and months and months.

Till when this could be stood? Till when?

ZAKARIA: But do you believe that this is ...

LEVY: And the real disproportion is that.


ZAKARIA: Do you believe that this military attack can deal a decisive political defeat to Hamas? I ask this, because, of course, in the Lebanese case that's not exactly what happened.

The fact that Hezbollah was able to ... ... to withstand it, made it politically quite strong.

So, I'm questioning whether this is strategically and politically wise, not whether it is justified.

LEVY: I know. It's, of course, a -- I'm not a military expert, and you are not. And of course we don't know. I hope so.

And what I know is that, of course, the military action will not be enough. We shall have -- we shall have to have also a political action.

This military action will have to be followed as quickly as possible from the Israeli side and from the allies of Israel by political actions -- very strong political gesture in the direction in favor of the Palestinians.

It will be a military operation for nothing, if it is not immediately followed, accompanied, followed by some symbolical, political, very strong gesture in the direction, in the sense, for the sake of the Palestinian people.

You are right. Military without political does not mean anything. I hope that the Israeli leaders know it, and I believe that they know. But we shall see.

ZAKARIA: You have tracked the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe very carefully. Do you feel that right now you are witnessing a rise? Is there something about the reaction that worries you in Europe?

LEVY: Of course there is something which smells that.

You have today -- you had yesterday in Paris some demonstrations, which appealed, which demanded not only the destruction of Israel, but also -- as does, by the way, the charter of the Hamas -- the destruction of every Jews.

As you know, the Hamas demands -- this is in the program of the Hamas, says -- it doesn't demand -- say that every Jew in the world is a legitimate target for the Hamas. So, you had, of course, in Paris yesterday, and you have in Europe some people who begin again to think like that.

So, you have a sort of anti-Semitic upsurge. But it is not the problem of today. The problem of today is what is happening on the ground.


At 1:22 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Levy is a clown.

Repeating Israeli propaganda is not how one answers questions. He may as well hand the number of the Israeli embassy to answer those questions.

The Israeli government does target civilians when it deems it appropriate and has openly endorsed punishing civilians for electing Hamas. They just have a more sophisticated PR campaign.


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