I have been warning the last few days that Barack Obama’s endorsement of the trendy Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P) was opening a Pandora’s Box and could be used by groups to attack Israel. Yesterday we had Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister calling on the world to bomb Israel to protect Palestinian civilians (since the UN, the Arab League, and Barack Obama have validated this approach to protect civilians in Libya). Today, R2P is now being used by the Palestinians to pressure Israel.
From the Los Angeles Times: Babylon & Beyond – Observations from Iraq, Iran, Israel, the Arab world and beyond
The Palestinian Authority asked for international protection Monday citing a sharp rise in Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank…
Ghassan Khatib, director of the Palestinian Authority media center, issued a statement holding the Israeli government responsible for what he called “serious and systematic escalation” in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East War.
Khatib called for “urgent international protection to prevent further crimes against the civilians.”
Abbas said “there are daily crimes committed by Israeli settlers” against Palestinian civilians, yet no one seems to be talking about them. “Our villages are being attacked on a daily basis, and so our mosques and our homes and our olive trees are cut down,” he said. “Israel and the international community should take note of that.”
While the Palestinians do not use the exact phrase “Responsibility to Protect” they are using the exact same idea behind that phrase – the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians. Since terrorists use civilians to hide behind, and plant themselves and their weapons in civilian areas, R2P can be used as one more manifestation of lawfare to prevent Israel from defending its citizens.
Obama ignored Congress when launching attacks on Libya (and was hypocritical in doing so , as pointed out in today’s Boston Globe editorial) – Obama should have obtained Congress’ approval on Libya – and seemingly outsourced our foreign and defense policy to the Arab League and the United Nations. When he justified the attacks based on the R2P concept that had been floating around the diplomatic world for a few years (a concept supported by George Soros and Samantha Power whose antipathy towards Israel and adoration of the United Nations is well-known), he empowered anti-Israel advocates to use one more ploy to attack Israel.
Carried to its logical conclusion, that the International Community must protect civilians, it is only a matter of time before R2P is used to attack American actions in Iraq, Afghanistan…and perhaps, ironically, in Libya itself.
Obama has wittingly or unwittingly opened a Pandora’s Box.