Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Distorted human rights

I saw this item on the ITV news a couple of days back.

The Israeli army has revealed that is using remote-control machine guns to secure its border with the Gaza strip.

The system allows soldiers watching television screens in control rooms to spot targets and open fire.

In the past, lookouts had to call in ground forces to intercept militants.

The introduction of the new guns has outraged human rights groups.

What, exactly, is the issue that these so-called "human rights" groups take exception to? I could understand, perhaps, if these remote machine guns were fully automated and computer controlled - so that the slightest detection of movement would unleash a hail of lead. In that situation I could understand the RSPB being upset at the slaughter of innocent sparrows - but they aren't.

They are controlled by soldiers who keep watch via TV monitors - a sensible move considering that the Palestinians aren't adverse to nipping over the border to kidnap them, torture them and then kill them from time to time - funny how that doesn't seem to bother these "human rights" groups so much.

The "militants" also have a habit of wearing civilian clothing, hiding and firing from areas where civilians are likely to be caught in the crossfire and even using civilians as human shields - again, something which these "human rights" groups don't seem too bothered by.

Even if it were a real live soldier manning the machine gun, they are just as likely to mistake a civilian for a militant as someone in a remote location because that is the tactic of these "militants" - to look like civilians - so it can't be a simple case that these "human rights" groups are concerned about that sort of mistake. And again, they don't seem too bothered by the indiscriminate bombardment of Israeli towns with Palestinian rockets launched from Gaza.

The only issue I can possibly see is that they somehow think it is unfair to shoot someone when you can't be shot yourself - a concept that disappeared with Napoleon. If that were the case then you'd have to outlaw artillery, rocket launchers, aircraft, ships, helicopters and UAVs.

It is not a human right to be shot at by someone you can see and shoot back at. It's not a requirement of the Geneva convention either - only that combatants should be easily identifiable as combatants when you do see them. Given that these "human rights" groups have once more got their knickers in a twist over an understandable and perfectly legitimate Israeli tactic one wonders what their true motivation is - human rights or Palestinian preference?

No comments: