Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a great point on CNN on Tuesday when she conceded that it is hard to dispute that forces loyal to Hamas in the Gaza Strip are using human shields in order to protect their military assets. She implied that this tactic has resulted in an inordinate number of Palestinian causalities over the course of the ongoing conflict with Israel. Those were the last of Albright’s good points.
After conceding that Hamas is intentionally making civilian casualties more likely, she said that it was nevertheless the case that those causalities are sapping Israel of its “moral authority.”
“I do think that it is very hard to watch the number of Palestinians that are being killed – innocents,” Albright began. “It is hard to dispute the fact that, as Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has said that, in fact, there are innocents being put in the way in order to act as shields.”
“But the bottom line is, I think that this is hurting Israel’s moral authority,” she continued. “I think it looks as though they’re overdoing, which is why I think there has to be more emphasis on the fact that they have accepted the cease-fire. And then try to figure out who has any influence over Hamas in order to get them to accept a cease-fire.”
Over 600 Palestinians have died as the fighting between Hamas militants and Israel, most of them civilians. While just 27 Israelis have died in the fighting, almost all of them soldiers with the Israeli Defense Forces.
Whenever asked, Israeli officials inform those who ask about the body count disparity that they will not apologize for the fact that Israel not only aims to protect their civilians from attacks by Palestinian militants but is also especially good at it.
Those with stature like, America’s former chief diplomat, nevertheless lend credence to the notion that Israel should be somehow ashamed of the number of Palestinian lives lost in this conflict in spite of the IDF’s well-documented efforts to minimize those casualties.
Albright’s incoherent statement comes at a time when 28 European Union foreign ministers issued a statement condemning the firing of rockets from Gaza into civilian areas of Israel. “These are criminal and unjustifiable acts,” the statement, which demanded that Hamas “disarm” and “renounce violence,” read.
This confluence of events puts Albright to the left of Europe on the issue of Israeli self-defense — not a credible place to be. Remember, though, it’s the members of George W. Bush’s administration that lack credibility on issues relating to foreign affairs. Why do we keep forgetting that?
This post has been updated from its original publication.