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The government should acknowledge Israeli restraint

27 March 2011

10:39 AM

27 March 2011

10:39 AM

With NATO planes circling above Libya, Saudi troops quashing protests in Bahrain, and
troops killing civilians in Syria and Yemen, there has been little attention paid to Israel. But Israel has recently been the victim of a series of violent attacks. More than 30 people were injured
in a bombing in Jerusalem, and Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, has fired mortars and rockets into Israel for days on end. The attacks suggest that Hamas is, once again,
struggling to rein in other terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad. Some IDF commanders fear a descent into chaos in Gaza.

In the face of the onslaught, however, the Israeli government has shown amazing restraint. Though Israeli aircraft have attacked
targets
in Gaza, and Benjamin Netanyahu has talked tough, the response has in fact been far less severe than in the past. And far less than many Israeli voters demand.

The Israeli government is clearly keen to avoid derailing the events in the rest of the Middle East. Defence Minister Ehud Barak has even said as much. For governments that are always quick to
criticise Israeli actions — which now, sadly, includes the Cameron administration — this is an occasion to express sympathy with, and understanding of, Israel’s situation and its show
of restraint. Not necessarily publicly, but in private messages. 


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