I see that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has turned to Christianity from atheism and before that Islam. From the misconceived to the muddleheaded to the way, the truth and the life. Of the three, let me pick up on the truth. Truth and God are indivisible. And as part of giving mankind the best civilisation the world has seen or will ever see, Christianity gave and gives us an appreciation of the centrality of truth. The truth is always under attack by those with an agenda (leftists, Islamists, assorted barbarians) who wish to tear down our civilisation.
Where am I going with this morality tale about truth? To Gaza, actually, and to Penny Wong. “And we call on Israel to cease attacking hospitals,” she reportedly said. The archetypal lie by insinuation. Apropos, have you stopped beating your wife? Either through ignorance or commission, truth has taken a hike. She either has not studied the rules of war and, therefore, as Foreign Minister, is recklessly derelict, or she has read them and was being duplicitous in implying that Israel was in breach of them.
Any number of reports last week described fighting around Gaza’s largest hospital al-Shifa. Ms Wong should pay attention. Exactly who were Israeli forces fighting near to the hospital? Hardly unarmed doctors, nurses and patients. You don’t need to be a genius to work out that Hamas terrorists were stationed in, around and underneath the hospital in contravention of the rules of war.
Israel in conforming with the rules of war must be “proportionate.” While this civilising rule or principle is fraught with subjectivity in the heat of conflict, as I argue here, there is no circumstance which allows it to be deliberately flouted. (See, for example, Military Ethics by Stephen Coleman.) Unfortunately, most commentators, and I see that Teal MP Zoe Daniels has joined the misinformed throng, seem to have no idea what proportionality means. To be clear, it does not mean tit-for-tat. It does not proscribe Israel’s defence forces from attacking Hamas terrorists inside and near to a hospital, provided the military objective is adjudged important enough and provided that harm to doctors, nurses and patients is kept to an absolute minimum in achieving the military objective.
Another thing to be clear about. The primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of civilians inside Gaza hospitals rest with the controlling force, in this case Hamas terrorists. They should never have been anywhere near hospitals in the first place. They are war criminals. Their consequential responsibility is to flee far from hospitals and their surrounds (and without firing a shot) if they can, or otherwise surrender.
In putting the onus on Israel “to cease attacking hospitals,” Wong was operating in an empire of lies and we know who is the father of that empire. (John 8:44)
Israeli forces were and are not attacking hospitals, a ridiculous and defaming proposition; but, in fact, Hamas terrorists in and around hospitals. Strike One!
Under the rules of war Israel has a presumed right to engage the terrorists even when they are hiding behind civilians; otherwise no malignant force could ever be defeated. Strike Two!
Denying Israel the right to engage with its enemy in order to safeguard civilians is subtext for siding with Hamas terrorists; to wit, siding with evil. Strike Three!
In a better age, she would be sacked forthwith. Why is she still holding her position? I don’t know precisely. It is another sign of our societal and political dissolution. Undoubtedly, the press is playing a part. Tenaciously holding authority to account is becoming a faint echo of the past.
In the latest’s Weekend Australian I read about Ms Daniel’s comments. Wong’s, equally ill-informed comments, but in her case carrying the far-reaching authority of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, seem now to be out of sight and mind. Are they using the Biden defence? She didn’t know what she was saying?
Finally, even with my jaundiced view of the IQ of the Teals — my local member is Kylea Tink, for Pete’s sake — I was taken aback with this reported comment by former ABCer Daniel’s inelegant exercise in hypothetical conditionality: “If they’ve been targeting hospitals … if that’s what happened, it’s a war crime. Pure and simple.”
And, if I wantonly kicked an old lady on my way to coffee this morning I would be guilty of an illegal and despicable act of violence. But I didn’t. And, unless I’m wrong, that makes all the difference.