I was listening to the radio today, and heard the top of the hour news. As the announcer said “The G8 issued a statement today regarding the situation in the Middle East,” I expected the sentence to finish “condemning Israel.” Boy, was I surprised:
Group of Eight leaders told Hizbollah militants on Sunday they must free abducted Israeli soldiers and immediately halt attacks on Israel to end an upsurge in Middle East violence.
In a statement from their summit in Russia, G8 leaders urged Israel to exercise “utmost restraint” in its offensive in Lebanon, but blamed the crisis squarely on “extremist elements” and put the onus on Hizbollah to stop it.
As you can see, the statement had the usual garbage about Israeli restraint, but the big surprise was the finger pointing. For once, it’s not all Israel’s fault.
In a way, the world’s relentless criticism of Israel over the last 15 or so years has had a liberating effect on Israel: she’s finally reached the point where she no longer cares what the world has to say, since she’s damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t. (If you doubt me, just look at the UN’s voting record up until 1991, before things went really crazy.) That being the case, perhaps the world is suddenly trying to become relevant to Israel again by tempering statements so that they have at least a minimal relationship to reality.