The international community’s obsession with “even-handedness” in comments on Palestinian terrorism is morally reprehensible. The recent spate of Palestinians stabbings Israelis has generated too many calls for restraint by both sides and too few condemnations of those wielding the knives (and of those urging the attacks.)
Spain is the current President of the UN Security Council. Yesterday its government expressed “great concern over the extreme gravity of the situation in Israel and in Palestine, and its serious regret at the successive violent attacks and confrontations that have lead [sic] to the deaths of at least 6 Israelis and 29 Palestinians.” Spain then called for “restraint from all parties and for them to decisively tackle this swath of violence,” further describing the situation as a “dangerous spiral towards violence.”
Who held the knife and who had it plunged into their chest? Who was shot after murdering innocent bystanders? Impossible to know, based on Spain’s statement.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, similarly – and uncharacteristically for him – conflated terrorists and civilian victims. His October 6 statement, the only one he has issued since the stabbings began, reads, “The Secretary-General is profoundly alarmed by the growing number of deadly incidents in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The last few days of clashes, which resulted in the death of four Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, and hundreds injured, are yet another worrisome sign of violence potentially spiralling out of control. The Secretary-General condemns the killings and looks to the Government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation into the incidents, including whether the use of force was proportional.”
Of the four dead Palestinians referenced in Ban’s statements, it appears that at least two were killed while committing terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. One, Muhannad Halabi, was shot by police after he brutally stabbed to death Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita in the Old City on October 3. The second, Fadi Alon, was shot after he stabbed a 15 year-old Jewish boy outside the Old City on October 4. The murdered Israelis are not mentioned, inferred only by the reference to “deadly incidents.”
Moral clarity requires distinguishing dead terrorists from their dead victims. Those in leadership positions in the international community who fail to make such distinctions should not be surprised when their other demands are ignored.