Goldstone in Afghanistan?

Israelis still fuming over the Goldstone Report will only fume more if they pay attention to events in Afghanistan.

The major joint NATO-Afghan offensive there against the Taliban is beginning to net some senior Bad Guys — but at a cost. Once again, civilians are paying the ultimate price in the war to wrest their country from the hands of thugs.

This, of course, was to be expected. Since 2001, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in the Afghan war.

So, when can we expect to see a Goldstone Report on the Afghan war?

Probably never.

Let’s recall, too, that thousands of civilians were killed last year when Sri Lanka essentially destroyed the Tamil Tigers after a 26-year civil war. A significant portion of them died in what many called “indiscriminate shelling” on the part of the government forces (who, it is only fair to point out, were fighting terrorists who used civilians as human shields).

So, when can we expect to see a Goldstone Report on the Sri Lankan war?

Again, probably never. (The United Nations last year rejected a call to establish an international inquiry into the very creditable claims of violations of human rights on both sides of the fighting in Sri Lanka.)

What does this mean? Perhaps it means that the world’s highest-profile human rights organization doesn’t consider Afghans and Sri Lankans human, and is therefore not concerned with their rights? Or, perhaps it isn’t really concerned with human rights in the first place.


A lesson in Sri Lanka

For a few months already, government troops have been on the verge of ridding Sri Lanka of the island nation’s terrorist scourge, the Tamil Tigers. Now, it seems, they have done so.

Most of the world has ignored this 25-year-long conflict, and Israel is no exception. But now that this struggling island state has defeated one of the most accomplished terrorist and guerilla forces in modern history, it is imperative that every Western nation — and especially Israel — take great pains to study this development well.

The Tigers’ extinction is a resounding reality check for all those who have said that such a movement could not be defeated. Indeed, it was only after the rebels broke a truce that the Sri Lankan government decided to abandon its plan of managing the conflict and go for total victory that success became possible.

There is a profound lesson in this for Israel and its ill-fated strategy vis-a-vis Hamas: Pursue victory, and you shall get it. Pursue calm, and you shall never have it.

Like the notion of bringing Hamas to surrender is ridiculed as impossible, so too was the idea of defeating the Tigers of Tameel Elam once considered impossible. But no more. Today it is not folly to declare, “terrorism can be defeated!” It is folly to ignore such a declaration.